Milada, a gentile girl living in Czechoslovakia in 1942, is turning eleven on her next birthday. When the Nazi’s converge upon her town, she is separated from her family and taken to a Lebensborn center in Poland for girls who have been deemed candidates to become perfect Aryans. Milada, who is not Jewish, resents her blond hair and blue eyes, knowing these are the reason she is chosen. Upon reaching the Nazi center, Milada’s name is changed to “Eva” and she and the other girls are forced to speak German. During her stay at the center, “Eva” makes a friend, but also sees girls who fall under the spell of the Nazi brainwashing. She must summon all of her emotional strength to remember her real name and family. “Eva” secretly wears a pin given to her by her Grandmother with the warning “Remember who you are. Always.” This book shows an aspect of the Nazi regime that is not commonly portrayed in children’s literature. It is a chilling account of the psychological control the Nazi’s had over their youngest victims. Milada has never met a Jewish person, so the Jewish content is limited to sympathetic references to the impact of the Nazi regime on the Jewish community. Someone Named Eva reveals evil through the innocence of a child’s eyes. This is not a Jewish Holocaust story, but would make a formidable addition to any Holocaust collection. For ages 10 and up.
Barbara Bietz is a freelance writer and children’s book reviewer. She is currently a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. Barbara is the author of the middle grade book, Like a Maccabee. She has a blog dedicated to Jewish books for children at www.BarbaraBBookBlog.Blogspot.com.