Here are true stories of two Jewish families in Hitler’s Germany and of the charismatic professor who comes to their aid. The teens have been shut out of their schools. The first, Eva, was sent to England for two years to complete her high school education and was terribly homesick. The second, Topper, wanted out of the stranglehold of 1930s Nazi Germany. Both teens ended up in a farm school named “Gross Breesen” run by Dr. Curt Bondy, a Jewish professor formerly of the University of Gottingen but no longer allowed to teach there. Instead, he became interested in establishing a Jewish school for students who have to pass his discerning interview.
The school, with some academic subjects, was designed to mainly train the students in farming and Dr. Bondy’s philosophy. It prepared them to emigrate somewhere outside of Germany. He believed that he could mold them into becoming special human beings, not only skilled in farming but also in coping with what lay ahead. The Nazis were supportive of the school because it would rid Germany of a large number of adolescent Jews, which was what Hitler wanted at that time.
Dr. Bondy’s teaching and philosophy created a group of adolescents who were able to cope with some terrible experiences, the worst of which was when the school was shut during Kristallnacht and they were all sent to Buchenwald and had their heads shaved, and where they comforted and aided other prisoners.
Dr. Bondy knew he had to get his students out of there and was aided by the Joint Distribution Committee in the United States. Fortunately, Friedrich Borchardt, who was working for the Joint had received a letter from a wealthy American Jewish owner of the Thalhimer Department Store in South Carolina, who proposed to buy a farm estate and host the German Jewish Youth who could continue learning farming and eventually be self-supporting and safe. This is a fascinating book that provides a history of the Holocaust as the tapestry against which the trials and adventures of these young Jewish youth played out until their adulthood, when several of the men and one woman, joined the US Army during World War II.
Includes notes, bibliography, archival collections photographic collections.
Recommended for ages 13 and up.