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Auf Wiedersehen: World War II Through the Eyes of a German Girl    by Christa Holder Ocker order for
Auf Wiedersehen
by Christa Holder Ocker
Order:  USA  Can
Plain View Press, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Kelly Thunstrom

As a history teacher, I was extremely interested in reading this book. I thought it would be a quick read and something that I could use with my students during our unit on World War II. I was mistaken on both of these counts.

Christa Holder Ocker tells a story of Christa's childhood in Germany during the collapse of the Third Reich. It begins with her family being forced out of their comfortable home in Gorlitz and made to move to a boardinghouse in Apolda. Christa tries to have a normal childhood with puppet shows and puppy love crushes. The family's goal is getting to America, where new opportunities abound. There are a few profound passages where Christa intersperses what she is doing on any given day with comparisons of what is going on in the concentration camps in other parts of the country.

This book is definitely not for children, as some descriptions are in gratuitous graphic detail. Ms. Ocker wanted us to know what life was like as a German girl during World War II. She succeeded in conveying that. However, I felt like Christa sought sympathy from the reader for having to eat horsemeat and for giving up her favorite puppet to a Russian soldier. Knowing the atrocities that Jewish people faced in concentration camps, I found this difficult to do.

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