#1089 – Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport by Emma Carlson Berne

9781515745464_34ecd Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport
Series: Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Stories
Written by Emma Carlson Berne
Capstone Press  2/01/2017
112 pages     Ages 8—12

“You’re five years old. You’re on a train with a group of other children. You’ve said goodbye to your parents and are traveling to a new country. You may never see your parents, or your native land, again. This was the experience of 10,000 children who escaped the Nazis on the Kindertransport. Memoir pieces, poems, photographs, and other primary sources tell the tales of seven of these children. The experiences of these young refugees shed light on how it felt to lose one’s home and family in World War II, and how it might feel for today’s refugees.” [BACK COVER]

[WC 342]
Berne relates the story of seven children (five boys, two girls), who left Germany and Australia between 1938 and 1940 for the safety of Great Britain.

It all began on a night referred to as Kristallnacht—The Night of the Broken Glass. Loyalists to Hitler smashed the windows of 7000 Jewish businesses in Germany and Austria, hurting and sometimes killing men and boys—Jewish men and boys—even more were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Aid organizations began asking Great Britain to accept refugee children. The country agreed to accept those under age 17, who traveled alone, and, once they were out of danger, left England. The seven children in this book fled aboard a Kindertransport to England by ship, plane, or train.
9781515745464_1_70815Given the subject matter, Berne did an excellent job gearing the language toward middle grade kids. Berne used memoirs, photographs, and interviews. The most poignant words (in italics) come from the survivors, as they recount their lives before and after the kindertransport. These heartfelt stories give readers a viewpoint not often seen in history—that of a child. The seven children ranged in age from five to fourteen. One young boy carried his yellow teddy bear, another child gripped a rabbit’s foot; objects from home, too precious to leave behind.

The final chapter recounts each child’s life after the war. Most led long, productive lives. Back matter includes a timeline, glossary, bibliography, and source notes. Teachers will find discussion questions and additional reading.

Reading Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport was not difficult, yet it was emotional. Berne does a great job relating the Nazis era. She relates the dangers and the history of the time, then steps aside, allowing the children to tell their own story. One young boy, who had boarded the kindertransport, pressed his face against a window, trying to see his parents. Dad told him to smile. The young boy tried his best to obey. A Nazi soldier, supervising the train, saw the emotional interaction and said to dad, “So young and already a hero.” The kindertransport carried many heros.
dsc_1393bwDuring the Nazis regime, 10,000 children rode a kindertransport. When the war ended, the children and their families were to be reunited. For most, it never happened—their parents had died in the Holocaust. Despite this horrible ending, Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport is uplifting more than it is gloomy. Kids who read this nonfiction book will see the resilience these children possessed.

ESCAPING THE NAZIS ON THE KINDERTRANSPORT (ENCOUNTER: NARRATIVE NONFICTION STORIES). Text copyright © 2017 by Emma Carlson Berne. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Press, North Mankato, MN.

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Reprinted with permission from ESCAPING THE NAZIS ON THE KINDERTRANSPORT © 2017 by Emma Carlson Berne, Capstone Press, an imprint of Capstone.

Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport
Series: Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Stories
Written by Emma Carlson Berne
Capstone Press 2/01/2017

2 thoughts on “#1089 – Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport by Emma Carlson Berne

  1. This is a tough subject to take on for kids, but it looks like Berne does a good job. It’s important for children today to understand our past and recognize parallels in our present. This will be an important book to remind children of the dark paths of hatred.


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