Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Days of Change: The Holocaust

Days of Change: The Holocaust

Valerie Bodden
For ages 9 to 12
Creative Company, The, 2007   ISBN: 978-1583415474

Though the war began in 1939, the suffering of Europe's Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany began many years before. Germany was gripped in a terrible downward turn of unemployment, rampant inflation, and then in the 1930's there were the effects of the Great Depression. Many Germans blamed the terms of the Treaty of Versailles for their misfortune. And, fed by the poisonous words of a man called Adolf Hitler, they blamed the Jews.

Hitler's political party, the Nazis, came to power in 1932. The following year Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. He immediately began to build up the German military and he put together a program to "create a "pure" Germany" of Aryans – people with fair hair and skin and blue eyes. To achieve the goals of this program Hitler decided that everyone who was flawed or damaged needed to be removed from the general population. This included people who were mentally or physically handicapped, homosexuals, gypsies, and the Jews. Hitler blamed the Jews for many of Germany's ills and, needing a scapegoat for their misfortunes, many Germans accepted his words and acted upon them.

Soon laws began to be implemented which deprived Jews of many basic civil rights. It began with Jews not being allowed to go into many shops, restaurants, or businesses. Then their citizenship rights were taken away and they were not allowed to marry other Germans. With the events of Kristallnacht on November 8th, 1938 things got much worse.

Following this terrible event 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and taken to concentration camps. It was just the beginning.

In this well written and very moving book the author tells the story of the Holocaust in such a way as to make it accessible to young people. Powerful annotated photographs can be found throughout the book, and readers will be left with a meaningful understanding of what took place before, during, and after the Holocaust.

This is one of the books in the "Days of Change" series. Other books in this collection include "The Slave Trade" and "The Cold War."