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Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in…

Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944 (edition 2003)

by Aranka Siegal

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Title:Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944
Authors:Aranka Siegal
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (2003), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Read January 2013, Young Adult

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Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944 by Aranka Siegal



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A 1982 Newbery honor book regarding the holocaust, this is written about events leading up to the deportation of the author's family to Auschwitz in 1944.

Happy and carefree, Piri spends summers with her grandmother in Beregszasz. During 1939 sudden changes occur as it appears the nation is in the debt of Adolf Hitler. Unable to return to Hungary because the borders are closed, we watch as increasingly the slovac nations are swallowed up by Germany.

When Peri is able to return to her family, she learns her father is now in the military and destined for the Russian front.

There is a slowness throughout the story as day by day, little by little, Germany's Hitler becomes increasingly bent on the destruction of the Jews.

Unlike some other holocaust books, this one focuses on events as they unfold, almost in a slow-motion fashion time stands still and then moves a little faster, faster, faster toward the enevitability of destruction.

Recommended. ( )
  Whisper1 | Jan 28, 2013 |
Upon the Head of the Goat is the memoir of a young Hungarian girl who grew up during the beginning of World War II. The story chronicles her life in three locations, which underscore the events in history. She begins in the Ukrainian countryside, where she is open and free with her grandmother, then moves with her mother to the more closed in city in Hungary as events and atrocities begin to intensify, and finally to the ghetto where all of the Jewish families are thrown into close quarters and squalor to await an unknown fate.

This book differs from many holocaust era memoirs in that it transpires entirely during the buildup of events, and does not describe the authors experiences in a concentration camp or similar situations. Because of this, it provides a more relatable story for the average reader who can never truly empathize with holocaust suffering.

This book does not standout as the most memorable of book I have read of the genre. Perhaps because the author does not seem concerned with time passing as a frame of reference, which makes it sometimes hard to keep in mind exactly how old the author is, or the other characters are in relation to her.

The reading level is not too advanced, and it does not aim to deliberately shock the sensibilities, making it an appropriate read for a younger, perhaps middle school level, audience. ( )
  wackermt | Jun 22, 2012 |
Upon the Head of a Goat is a gripping account of the trials of one Jewish family prior to life in the concentration camp. Whereas there are a plethora of books like Night and Maus, this tale did not focus on the horrors of the camp, which we see so very often depicted across every medium. Instead, we glimpse the slow unraveling of their world. As a history teacher, I knew the effects of WWII before, during, and after stretched wide across Europe. A perfect example of this is the television show Band of Brothers, which followed one platoon as they traversed through much of Europe. We can look at Saving Private Ryan, which occurred in France, or Miracle at St. Anna's, occurring in Italy. However, this is wonderful for students in an American History class, a World History class, or even a geography class, where they can get an in-depth look that goes beyond Auschwitz and Dachau. An entirely different perspective, and a fresh glimpse into a topic that should never be forgotten. ( )
  jenunes | May 7, 2012 |
This book is about the life of a little girl and her family and what she went through during the Holocaust. A girl named Piri tells you what happened when her family was first ostracized by her neighbors .Then later picked up from their home and sent to a concentration camp . The book details her emotions and how she as a child handled going through this horrible ordeal . I liked this book because it told me another story then what I'm used to hearing. I don't know if i would suggest this book but others like it tell the whole story of the Holocaust.. ( )
1 vote rmthoma2 | May 7, 2012 |
Upon the Head of a Goat" would be useful to show students that World War II involved more than Germany. This book focused on the time just before Germany invaded Hungary up to the point that the family is boarding a train to a concentration camp. It was interesting to see how life changed in small increments. In the beginning the Davidowitz's were like any other family in their town. However little by little their neighbors pulled away and eventually all of the Jews in the area were moved into a ghetto. There are numerous ways this book could be taught across the curriculum. In social studies students could create maps and timelines. They could also research some of the traditions that were in the book. For English I might compare it with Anne Frank, or In Between Shades of Gray (a story of a Lithuanian family deported by Stalin). The uber-organization of the Nazi's lends itself to numerous math lessons using the Nazi records available online. Students could also attempt to figure the interest on life insurance policies that are beginnig to pay, etc.
  rwilliamson | May 7, 2012 |
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This book is dedicated to those who did not survive. They are deathless and timeless. Auschwitz could not sever the bonds of love and friendship which contributed to my survival and which will live within me to the end of my days.
The Lipp Family
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From the time I was five my mother would send me from Beregszász to spend the summers with my grandparents in Komjaty.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014036966X, Paperback)

From Publishers Weekly
These memoirs of a Hungarian girl liberated from Bergen-Belsen, said PW , are among "the most powerful accounts yet written by a survivor of the Third Reich." Ages 12-up.

Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"Through the description of the destruction of this family, the enormity of the annihilation of European Jewry is shown...A sensitive portrait of a remarkable young girl and her family"-Starred School Library Journal

"This is a book that should be read by all those who are interested in the Holocaust and what it did to young and old" -Isaac Bashevis Singer
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374480796, Paperback)

Upon the Head of the Goat is the winner of the 1982 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Nonfiction and a 1982 Newbery Honor Book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:37 -0400)

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Nine-year-old Piri describes the bewilderment of being a Jewish child during the 1939-1944 German occupation of her hometown (then in Hungary and now in the Ukraine) and relates the ordeal of trying to survive in the ghetto.

(summary from another edition)

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