We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance
By Lucinda Dyer,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Extraordinary true stories of bravery, defiance, and hope.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book offers a wealth of resources for any reader wanting to learn more about the Holocaust. There's a lengthy "Bibliography" of books, oral history interviews, unpublished accounts, memoirs, and newspaper articles, a "Selected Timeline of World War II in Europe," pages of links to museum websites and online resources, and a "Glossary" of terms (such as fascism, genocide, partisan).
In her introduction, the author has a message for her readers: You don't have to be a larger-than-life hero to be fair, just, inclusive and kind -- or stand up for someone who needs your help.
Positive Role Models
Even the youngest survivors in We Must Not Forget have remarkable stories of courage and resistance. When Alfred Moritz and his brother Ernest were 13 and 11, they used forged identity papers to board trains filled with Nazi soldiers and travel to the small village in rural France where they would masquerade as Christians until the war's end. Paula Burger was just 7 when she and her younger brother escaped from a Polish ghetto and went to live deep in the forest with the famous Bielski Partisans. The book also pays special attention to people who risked their lives to arrange false identities for Jews, hide them in their homes and farms, and help them evade capture by the Nazis (one was a 10-year-old boy who guided Jews along an escape route from France into Switzerland).
Violence & Scariness
All of these stories are told against a backdrop of the violence and terror of Hitler's "Final Solution" for the Jews. Specific instances are detailed without any graphic details. People are shot, bombed, hanged, tortured, sent to gas chambers and executed for smuggling food. Children walk past dead bodies lying in the streets and witness families being rounded up and sent to concentration camps. One girl begs her mother to tell her how to commit suicide if she's ever about to be caught by the Nazis.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Deborah Hopkinson's We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance tells the remarkable and inspiring stories of 13 young people who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Poland. Some lived in hiding in homes, on farms, or deep in forests. Others were constantly on the move, sometimes only moments from being rounded up and deported to a concentration camp. Some were separated from their families, sent to safety while their parents stayed behind to an uncertain fate. A few would find themselves part of the doomed uprising against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto. Violence or the threat of violence is a constant in these stories, but when the author writes of someone being hanged, shot, or sent to the gas chambers, she does so in a way that never graphically describes what's happening. One feature certain to engage readers are the links to websites where they can listen to or watch the survivors profiled in the book tell more about their stories.
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What's the Story?
WE MUST NOT FORGET is divided into three parts, each introduced by a short timeline of "Key Events" and short bios of the young survivors who stories will be told. In Part I: "Fleeing From Evil, Hiding from Horror" (Germany and the Netherlands) readers will meet Ivana Laufer Deutscheren, who hid in Berlin under the noses of the Nazis; Fred Angress, who used his job with the Jewish Council to smuggle people out Nazi occupied Holland; and Chella Velt Meekcombs Kryszek, who was sent to the horrors of Auschwitz. Part II: "Families Torn Apart" (France) includes the stories of Hanne Hirsch Liebmann, who was rescued from a concentration camp in France and hidden in a children's home; and Ruth Oppenheimer David, whose story of being sent to safety England is also told in Hopkinson's book We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport. Part III: "Desperation and Defiance" (Poland) includes the stories of Bronka Harz Kurz, who escaped the Kolomiya ghetto with her mother and fled to a town where they tried to pass as Christians; and Benjamin Meed and his future wife, Vladka. The Meeds helped plan the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and Vladka, who passed as a non-Jew, smuggled weapons and helped protect children who'd been hidden outside the ghetto.
Is It Any Good?
This Holocaust story, told by its youngest survivors, is filled with miraculous escapes, false identities, remarkable courage, and heartbreaking decisions. For many readers, the most compelling element of We Must Not Forget will be the dozens of archival photos that help bring the story vividly to life. There are happy family photos taken before the war began, photos of children in hiding (some whose stories are told in the book) taken by the families who gave them shelter, and photos of Jewish partisans in Poland. Reader may find stark black-and- white images of Jews being arrested or rounded up for deportation disturbing.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the people in We Must Not Forget who risked their lives to help the book's young survivors. Can you imagine a circumstance in which you would risk everything to help someone you didn't even know?
The Holocaust happened decades and decades ago. Why do you think it's important to still read and learn about it?
Have you or any of your friends ever been bullied or discriminated against? Did anyone come forward to stand up for you?
- Author: Deborah Hopkinson
- Genre: History
- Topics: Activism, Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic Focus
- Publication date: March 31, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 2, 2021
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Where to Read
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