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Something Remains by Inge Barth-Grözinger
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Something Remains

by Inge Barth-Grözinger

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This is a novel about the hardships of a Jewish family in a small town in Germany, through the eyes of Erich Levi, their ten-year-old. The humiliations suffered by every member of the family, from the children at school to the parents, the loss of income when all their previous customers turned away from them, the loss of friends, and children having to come to grips about such hard things at such a young age; the family's story covers the years 1933-1938.

From the author's note: “This novel is a mixture of fiction and historical fact. We have researched the major national events of the time, and those of local and school history, as carefully as possible. … The names of the Jewish families, particularly those of the main characters, have been kept, in honor of their memory.”

Recommended to young adult readers to broaden their understanding of history and of life. ( )
  countrylife | Oct 24, 2010 |
This novel is based on a true story researched by a German teacher and her students in Ellwangen, Germany. It details the rise of Nazism under Hitler and its effects on Jewish families. The main character is Erich Levi, whose father was a respected cattle dealer in the town of Ellwangen. The family, as the SA and SS became a more visible presence in their community, suffer losses in business, friendships and school. Erich goes from being a top student to one whose teachers grade him down merely based on his religion. Erich loses his friends as Kurt joins the Nazi Youth and Helmut, must meet him in secret so they will not be seen. Yet in the midst of all this change, Erich experiences his first love - a girl named Gertraud. Being the niece of Gremm, one of Erich's teachers and a fanatical member of the party, places the two in danger and ultimately, Gertraud, is forced to leave. As time goes on, Erich's father must finally realizes that the treatment of Jews will only worsen and works to emigrate the family to America. Erich returns once more to his hometown - as a member of the American Army. His language skills and local knowledge, particularly of the town's Nazi leaders, prove useful. He is acknowledged as the person who kept his town from being bombed by the military and some families claim he was responsible for saving their homes as well. The author does a good job demonstrating what it must have been like for a Jewish family living in Ellwangen during the build up to war. It is astonishing to realize that there were good German families, who did not agree with the rise of Nazism nor the treatment of their Jewish friends, yet did nothing out of fear.
  infolink66 | Feb 18, 2007 |
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Epigraph
The best thing in the worl is to be at home. -Berthold Auerbach (real name: Moses Baruch Auerbacher) 1812-1882
Dedication
For Jacob and Elena Levi, and Nina and Daniel Grozinger: the next generation, with love and hope.
LJCRS Book Fair Selection 5767
First words
The boy opened the small window and leaned out, kneeling on the narrow sill.
Quotations
In passing, he gently patted Erich's head, a gesture that he hadn't ventured to make recently. And normally Erich would have flinched from such a show of affection, but today he was thankful for it. It was well meant, and the only thing they could do for each other was to exchange these small proofs of helpless affection and intimacy, a last bulwark against malice.
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Erich Levi doesn't quite understand why his father is so gloomy when the Nazis are elected to power. He's too concerned with keeping his grades up, spending time by the river with his friends, and studying for his bar mitzvah to worry much about politics. But slowly, things begin to change for Erich. Some of the teachers begin to grade him harshly and unfairly-because he's Jewish. They humiliate him and exlude him from sports events and celebrations. Erich is bullied by the Hitler Youth boys in his class, boys made important and powerful by the uniforms they wear. But Erich is most hurt when his friend, Kurt, shuns him entirely. At home, things are no better. Money becomes more and more scarce as his father's cattle business suffers, and even his mother's friends look away when the Levi's pass them on the street. Not everyone is so cruel, though, and many of the Levi's friends and neighbors remain fiercely loyal at great risk to themselves. With good people still around, Erich can't believe the situation will last, and stubbornly holds on to his dream-even as the home he's always known becomes a dangerous and alien place. (0786838809)
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In 1933, as Hitler becomes Chancellor, twelve-year-old Erich and his family, who are Jewish, find they need to make changes in their everyday lives as hatred of the Jews grows.

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