Escape From Berlin

Irene N. Watts
  • Review
By – February 17, 2014

Many books have been writ­ten about the Kinder­trans­port, but none have relat­ed as com­plete a his­to­ry of the expe­ri­ence as has this pub­li­ca­tion that com­bines the three books Good­bye Mar­i­anne,” Remem­ber Me,” and Find­ing Sophie” in one omnibus vol­ume. The first book starts with Mar­i­anne shocked by the sign on her school’s door inform­ing her that Jew­ish stu­dents are no longer wel­come, fol­lowed by an encounter in the park when a girl with whom she has shared her jump rope hap­pi­ly all after­noon, turns on her com­plete­ly upon learn­ing that Mar­i­anne is a Jew. Ger­many is becom­ing more dan­ger­ous each day. As a result of anoth­er child’s ill­ness, Marianne’s moth­er has secured her a place on the life-sav­ing train to Great Britain with a promise to fol­low as soon as pos­si­ble. Just before depar­ture, a woman throws in a ruck­sack fol­lowed by her lit­tle girl, sev­en-year-old Sophie, and asks eleven-year-old Mar­i­anne to look after her. The sec­ond book delves into the children’s expe­ri­ences while wait­ing for their hosts and what hap­pens to them in Lon­don and lat­er when evac­u­at­ed to Wales due to the blitz. By Book Three, Marianne’s moth­er has made it to Eng­land and the two teenagers hap­pen to con­nect once more. Book Two is the most absorb­ing of the three books and read­ing it can some­time tear one’s heart out. They were great books when pub­lished sep­a­rate­ly and are even bet­ter com­bined. As librar­i­an of the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty, not a day goes by when I do not speak to one or more Kinder­trans­port mem­bers. This book will be very sought after, I am sure. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 8 and up.

Mar­cia W. Pos­ner, Ph.D., of the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty, is the library and pro­gram direc­tor. An author and play­wright her­self, she loves review­ing for JBW and read­ing all the oth­er reviews and arti­cles in this mar­velous periodical.

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