Companion to Making Bombs for Hitler
Pages: 154 pages
Finished: Mar. 5, 2010
First Published: Feb. 1, 2010 (Canada only)
Genre: children's, historical fiction,
The woman who said she was my mother was so ill on the ship from Europe that she wore a sickness bag around her neck almost the whole time.Acquired: Received a review copy from Scholastic Canada.
Reason for Reading: I enjoy historical fiction about WWII, especial from a child's point of view.
Comments: This is an extremely compelling story about a subject which I know very little about: The Lebensborn Program. I knew such things were done but haven't really read anything about it before. The story is of Nadia, who moves to Canada with a Ukranian man and woman who are not her parents, after World War II. She must call them Mother and Father, though she knows they are not, but they are kind and loving. Nadia is in somewhat of a state of shock and really doesn't remember any of her past but this book is a slow unraveling of her past as she starts to have flashes of memories from her past that are haunting and confusing, making her question whether she is a Nazi. Her new "parents" assure her she is not and encourage her to keep on remembering, which she does. At the same time, Nadia must also deal with fitting into her new country and its customs which, unfortunately, a couple of children at school make very difficult.
This is a bittersweet story that brings to life an aspect of the Nazi regime that is perhaps not so well known. While not as physically horrifying as other acts the Nazis perpetrated , it is an awful "experiment" that tore families apart, and ruined the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. The book is a compelling read, and coupled with its shortness is a fast read. The book's brevity does not however affect the power of emotion contained within its pages nor the development of Nadia's character. The reader connects with Nadia as a person and feels great anguish with her as she also learns who she is and what has happened to her.
The book ends with an Author's Note which includes just enough historical background to place the story within context and to pique the reader's interest in the subject. I will certainly look twice if I find another book that deals with the same topic. I had never heard of Skrypuch before but after a quick look I see she has written quite a number of historical fiction which all seem to centre around either one of the World Wars and be set in Eastern Europe. I would most definitely read other of her books. Recommended.