Gifts from the Enemy

Trudy Lud­wig
  • Review
By – October 31, 2014

The issue is, how soon do we want to intro­duce the sub­ject of the Holo­caust to chil­dren and how? It seems younger and younger. The book under review is adapt­ed from Alter Wiener’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy: From a Name to a Num­ber: A Holo­caust Survivor’s Auto­bi­og­ra­phy. The point of this sto­ry is that even among evil, one can some­times find good. The good in this sto­ry is the Ger­man woman employed in clean­ing the fac­to­ry where the Jews pro­vide slave labor, who brings the boy a sand­wich which she hides in a waste can each day. What a right­eous act! Using a min­i­mum of text and vocab­u­lary, most­ly appro­pri­ate for read­ers ages 9 – 12 years, Wiener’s sto­ry is sim­pli­fied and depends on the dra­mat­ic illus­tra­tions for their impact. The text starts out sparse and sim­ple and becomes more ample and mature as the sto­ry pro­gress­es. The art is the sto­ry, how­ev­er, and it is prize-worthy.

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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