Saturday, December 26, 2009

Auf Wiedersehen: World War II Through the Eyes of a German Girl (Christa Holder Ocker)

As a teacher, I was extremely interested in reading this book. I thought it would be a quick read and something that I could use with my students during our unit on World War II. I was mistaken on both of these counts.

Ms. Ocker is "Christa", telling the story of her childhood in Germany during the collapse of the Third Reich. It begins with her family being forced out of their comfortable home in Gorlitz and made to move to a boardinghouse in Apolda. Christa tries to have a normal childhood with puppet shows and puppy love crushes. Getting to America is their goal where new opportunities abound. There are a few profound passages where Christa intersperses what she is doing on any given day compared to what is going on in the concentration camps in other parts of the country.

This book is definitely not for children, as some descriptions are in graphic gratuitous detail. While I wanted to like this book, I felt like it was better served as a private journal. Ms. Ocker wanted us to know what life was like as a German girl during World War II. She succeeded in that fact. However, I felt like she was trying to make the reader feel sympathy for her for having to eat horse meat and for giving up her favorite puppet to a Russian soldier. Knowing the atrocities that Jewish people faced in concentration camps, I personally found this difficult to do.


This review can also be found at