Flames of the Tiger: Ger­many 1945

John Wil­son
  • Review
By – June 22, 2016

Despite the inter­spers­ing of armored tank sil­hou­ettes between sec­tions, the read­er will even­tu­al­ly real­ize that this is a book about the futil­i­ty of war as well as the sins of those who per­pe­trate it. It uses mem­bers of a typ­i­cal fam­i­ly liv­ing in Ger­many dur­ing Hitler’s reign to tell the sto­ry of World War II.

Each mem­ber of the fam­i­ly rep­re­sents a dif­fer­ent facet of the pop­u­la­tion. As a vet­er­an of World War I, the father, leery of Hitler and all he stands for, recalls how in the first moments of the Armistice, he and a Cana­di­an sol­dier, both from oppo­site sides, befriend­ed one anoth­er and kept in touch over the years.

With the rise of Hitler, the Cana­di­an has invit­ed him and his fam­i­ly to come to Cana­da. This offer is con­sid­ered by him, but his wife, from an upper class fam­i­ly, can­not coun­te­nance ever leav­ing Ger­many and her extend­ed fam­i­ly. She looks down at her husband’s fam­i­ly, espe­cial­ly his broth­er, a sim­ple farmer. She, how­ev­er, with her for­mer­ly despised broth­er-in-law, will lat­er typ­i­fy the right­eous gen­tiles” of history.

The family’s eldest son, twen­ty-year-old Rein­hardt, proud of his new uni­form, the Nazi pageants and intox­i­cat­ed by Hitler’s speech­es is total­ly indoc­tri­nat­ed. In the future, he will plead inno­cent to what the Ger­mans did to the Jews, although they all wit­nessed Kristall­nacht, but he is shocked” at what he saw in the camps, (described only briefly).

Dieter, who had joined his old­er broth­er in war through fam­i­ly loy­al­ty, will escape with their lit­tle flute-play­ing inno­cent sis­ter who sud­den­ly becomes a tow­er of strength after her flute is destroyed in a bomb­ing. They flee to escape the oncom­ing Rus­sians and find that his­to­ry will repeat itself, that not all Ger­mans are evil, and that a flam­ing tank once again may sig­nal a new friend. This is an inter­est­ing read and will pro­vide much to talk and think about for ages 12 – 16.

Relat­ed Content:

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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