Why a booktrail?
The trauma of war and the search for identity and one girl living two lives in Germany and England…
Story in a nutshell
Klaudia – London
An only child who lives with her parents.With a religious mother and a German father, she is teased at school and so retreats in to her shell and a new identity – Eliza. A girl who desperately wants to escape from beyond the shadows and constrains of her life.
Otto and Ernst – pre War Germany
Otto and Ernst are brothers and both members of the Hitler Youth Movement. Otto is keen to belong whilst Ernest is in love with a Jewish girl.
A search for identity and belonging
Place and setting
Croydon 1980s and Leeds 1990s
Klaudia lives in Croydon, South London with her parents and has a sad lonely life. Bullied at school when the kids find out that not only is her father the caretaker but a German as well ( or Nazi according to them) her life becomes unbearable.
There are three of us at home. Well four if you count Jesus
In the 1990s, Klaudia has now abandoned her Identity and has effectively ran away to Leeds to university where her life starts over. But then this world runs into trouble when her old life follows her and the lies she’s told come back to haunt her. This running away from her story and from the place she grew up is poignant as she realises that here she can be anyone she wants to be, have new friends, start over and erase her London past. Her father has a past that she knows little about and what she does find out haunts her.
The story weaves once again back to the past as the brothers Ernst and Otto, 1930s Germany are being primed for war. Ernst is a poignant narrator as he looks back at what happened during those war years and how his brother Otto changed so much before his eyes. This was a dark dark time and the harrowing descriptions of the German campaign, in Ukraine, in Russia are brutal in their detail. But it was this line, this ideology which chilled us the most –
The Fuhrer tells everyone that the future of Germany is in the hands of its youth. There is strength in numbers. We have a new and giddy power.
How the legacy of war haunts every one of us. How memories of the past come back to haunt us, how past and present merge and how misunderstandings of human emotions and reasons can linger, fester, and damage.
Booktrail Review – Susan
This is a story about the search for identity. Klaudia who has problems in the UK with her religious mother and German father. Then with Otto and Ernst who grow up very different during the Hitler regime. although Klaudia’s story was interesting, it was the Otto and Ernst story which really capture my attention – for it raised questions that I’d never really thought of before. Just what must it have been like to have been a young man during Hitler’s rise to power. How easy was it to follow that way of thinking or try to stand out and follow your own convictions?
Both Klaudia and the brothers both feel different, the isolation and difficult choices are very hard to bear. But to see not only their lives but 1930s Germany in general through their eyes was a real insight into the time and place. These boys as with others like them are rounded characters, individuals despite the Nazi ideal of ‘collectivism’.
Ernst was the man I wanted to learn about the most and his story is very intriguing indeed.