Booklist (October 1, 2011):

"Personal testimony is a powerful way to tell history, especially if there is no rambling repetition, and these accounts ... are tightly edited, drawing on the memories of victims, perpetrators, and witnesses who were at the Night of Broken Glass in 1938. The viewpoints are from children, adults, Jews, and Nazis who saw homes, businesses, and synagogues destroyed, and people beaten, murdered, and deported to concentration camps. Each chapter blends an individual’s testimony with historical background and commentary as well as photos of the witness and of the brutal events. One chapter is on Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, with quotes from his diary about how he directed the pogrom. But most accounts are about ordinary people: a teen in Hitler Youth; an assimilated Jewish boy in Berlin, who watched his world burn down and survived the transports and the camps; a girl thrown out of school, who saw her home destroyed and escaped on a Kindertransport to England. A time line, chapter notes, a bibliography, and suggested websites for further research close."


TriState Reviews (TriState Young Adult Review Committee in PA, DE, and NJ; February 7, 2012):

"Through first hand accounts, the first terrible night of violence against Jews in Nazi Germany is recounted. ...what makes this book exceptional is that it is written for the tween student in the voice of the subjects about whom the book is about. First hand accounts, memoirs verbal and written add such a strong voice to the subject in this book and make for compelling reading for not just the student but anyone who picks up this book to read. The black and white imagery throughout the text keeps it in the period, and narratives are written in a ‘handwriting’ font which also keeps the context of the book intact. Sidebars throughout the book serve to emphasize specific occurrences such as “Kristallnacht instructions for Gestapo and state police”, page 36 and “A German firefighter remembers”, page 79. The book concludes with a timeline, chapter notes, a glossary, further reading and an index."


James M Deem

Copyright © 1988-2018 James M Deem. All Rights Reserved.

Prisoners of Breendonk by James M Deem