Growing Up During The Holocaust: A Look At The Other Side Of World War Ii

2036 words - 9 pages

There are lots of books about the Holocaust, and what it was like to be in a concentration camp as a Jew, or what it was like being an SS officer during that time, but barely any focus on what is was like to grow up in the Holocaust as a civilian onlooker to the war. In The Book Thief by Markus Zusak he tells the story of Liesel Meminger who travels to a foster home in Munich Germany, and experiences what it’s like to live in a war. She deals with rations, knowledge limited to the learnings of what Hitler wants the children to know, survival of the fittest, and the reality of death around her. With the Hubermann family, and her best friend Rudy, Markus takes us on a journey that shows that life as a child in Nazi Germany is difficult when you have a thirst for knowledge.
In 1933 Munich, Germany had 9,005 Jews (1.2% of the Jew population) living within the city, they played an important part in the social, economic, and cultural life of Munich. However, in the period of March 1, 1933 to May 16, 1938 803 Jew deaths were recorded in Munich, as well as 3,574 that left, and 3,130 emigrating abroad. “When the war is over, Munich became the center for the Jewish Agency’s welfare activities in the DISPLACED PERSON’ camps and for the operations of BERIHA and the ‘illegal’ immigration to Palestine.” (Gutman 1000) Munich is where pretty much all of The Book Thief takes place. In 2001, Markus Zusak had just finished his fourth book when an idea of a book-stealing girl came to him. When he thought of it, it brought back memories of the WWII stories his parents told him about their childhoods in Germany and Austria, he thought about using Death as the narrator instead of what would be a ‘normal’ narrator, and with that he began working on the novel. Markus now lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and kids.
The Book Thief dealt with the other side of the Holocaust that no one has ever explored before, dealing with mature themes and told from a unique point of view that has Death telling the story. Hazel Rochman says “There’s too much commentary at the outset, and too much switching from past to present time, but as in Zusak’s enthralling I Am the Messenger (2004), the astonishing characters, drawn without sentimentality, will grab readers. More than the overt message about the power of words, it’s Liesel’s confrontation with horrifying cruelty and her discovery of kindness in unexpected places that tell the heartbreaking truth.” (1) I do not agree with statement about too much commentary, I believe the commentary gives a perfect amount of insight into Liesel’s backstory, as well as Death’s past in his morbid business. As well as with the too much switching from past to present time, the switching is from Liesel’s current memory to her memory before the Hubermann family, and Max’s life before and after he had to run from the Nazis. I do feel like there is a lot of point of view switching between characters and at times that can get a bit confusing....

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