This book is a must if you are interested in the what the Second World War did to the lives of ordinary people.
The book tells the personal story of two sisters born in Germany in the early 1902s, who are seperated when six years old. One is growing up in The Netherlands, having a relatively secured childhood, the other grows up in Germany, where she is used as a free help on a farm.
The movie made after the book has been praised all over the world for its unbiased way of showing that talking about right or wrong is easy after a war is over, but is not that black-and-white for the people enduring a war. This also resulted in the criticism that the story defends the German excuse 'Wir haben es nicht gewusst' (we didn't know). This is ungrounded, however. Tessa De Loo does show it is not only about whether or not people knew what was going on, but, more importantly, whether or not they believed it, and how they acted accordingly. (For example: many Jews in The Netherlands did not flee when the first rumours of concentration camps started, simply because they could not believe it was true. Why then, do we after the war suddenly say that the Germans should have known and done something?) De Loo shows that not all people can be heroes, that peple often prefer to turn a blind I in order to preserve the life they have builded for themselves. She shows how many people were sucked into a situation they felt they couldn't control.
I feel this book tries to make us realise people should be careful to judge the wrongs of others in a to black-and-white manner. This is not to say that these wrongs can be justified, but just to not overlook the human side, the duality that occures in most situations.