Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Glatshteyn, Yankev. Emil and Karl

Glatshteyn, Yankev. Emil and Karl. Roaring Brook Press, 2006 [1-59643-119-9]
Emil and Karl are two children growing up in Vienna during the Holocaust. Emil is Jewish and Karl is not. Because of the "changing circumstances" the two boys are left on their own and wander, trying to find help. They face the "changing circumstances" of the Holocaust, seeing people treated cruelly, arrested, beaten and even killed. They meet a German soldier who won't be cruel to children. They meet an old Jewish man with incredible perseverance. A couple runs into them and tries to help them and the book ends not on an entirely happy note. The reader sees the Holocaust the the eyes of two young children and some of the local people who keep saying that this can not last much longer. It is a good story about the Holocaust. What is absolutely incredible is that it was written in 1940, just at the start of the whole thing and it has just now been translated from the Yiddish. Realizing when this book was written makes it an important piece of Holocaust fiction. This 194 page book is an important piece of fiction and should be in every middle school and upper elementary school library.


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