Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Someone Named Eva

Someone Named Eva

Joan M. Wolf
Historical Fiction
For ages 9 to 12
Clarion Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-0618535798

It is the summer of 1942 and Milada and her best friend Terezie are planning Terezie's coming eleventh birthday. Just a few days before the special day, in the middle of the night, Nazi soldiers bang on the door of Milada's house. Her father and brother Jaro are taken away and Milada, her grandmother, her mother, and her baby sister are taken to a school where they stay with other women and children for a few days. Everyone is frightened and no one knows what is going to happen to them, nor do they know where their men folk are.

Then Milada is taken away from her mother and, after a nerve racking physical examination, she and a few other children are taken away from their town of Lidice in Czechoslovakia and are sent to a special facility for children in Poland. All the children with Milada have blond hair and blue or light colored eyes.

Milada and the other children discover that their Nazi captors are planning to turn them into good little German children who will be taught to speak German and to accept the German philosophies. Every child in the facility is given a German name and they are not allowed to speak their native tongue. Milada - or Eva as she is now called – does as she is told but in her heart she holds onto her memories of her home and family and she tries to remember her grandmother's words: "Remember who you are, Milada. Remember where are from. Always."

In this wonderfully written book Joan M. Wolf not only tells the story of a young girl, but she also tells the story of a town in Czechoslovakia which the Nazis completely destroyed in an act of vengeance. Many of the children from Lidice were taken to concentration camps where they subsequently died. A few were taken away and placed in ?Arayanization' camps where they were taught the German language and where their captors did their best to turn them into future Nazis. After they were suitably ?educated' the children were placed in the homes of SS officers.

Milada's struggles to hold onto her identity and not to be seduced by the comforts that the Germans offer her are touching and often heart breaking. Readers will find it hard not to admire this plucky girl who does not allow herself to give up the hope that her family will find her one day.

This is a moving tribute to the people of Lidice and to all the people who ended up as Nazi prisoners.