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We are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust [Mass Market Paperback]

Patricia C McKissack , Jacob Boas
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic US (Nov 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059084475X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590844758
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

Diary entries written by five Holocaust victims document the ordeals suffered in Nazi-occupied Lithuania, Hungary, Belgium, and Holland.

From the Author

the lives of teenagers in the Holocaust
In writing this book, I was interested in broadening the perspective of what it was like to be a teenager in the Holocaust, going beyond Anne Frank and her famous diary to include the experiences of teenagers who were not necessarily in hiding and sometimes wrote their diaries with a gun pointed at their heads. What I found was that the teenage diarists experienced the Holocaust on an entirely different level than did adults. They felt more deeply the humiliation, the loss of friends, the loneliness, the apathy, the fear. Each was a young person coping with the impossible, yet managed, somehow, to hold on to their humanity and ideals until the bitter end. To me, they are enduring symbols of peace in a world that has so little of it.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must be read 17 Nov 2005
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Poignant, scary, melancholic, sad. Every teenager should read this in case the true horror of World War Two should ever be forgotten
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was an excellent book! I just loved how the author added other historical facts about the diarists. This is the type of book that makes you want to learn more about the Holocaust and these teens. It really touches me, because as I read about each one of them, I could see myself, especially since I'm about their age. I would definately recommend this book to just about anyone!
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13 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was the best book I've ever read. 7 Feb 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If people havn't read this then your missing the best holocaust book you would ever read!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, sad, but moving and worth the read 14 Mar 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although many people think that reading such books as these, the accounts of teenagers who died while under the Nazi regime, is depressing...people should tell them, it should be. This book was very good, and I read it a few years ago during a class that I had to take. Everyone had read the Diary of Anne Frank, but although this includes excerpts of hers, I was interested to know what others thought. Whether or not they were as optimistic as she was. If you are looking for a read that will give you different perspectives on how teenagers thought about the Holocaust, this is the book for you.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Are Witnesses 16 Mar 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am not a big fan of non-fiction history books. I find them hard to concentrate on because there are so many facts that they become overwhelming. But We Are Witnesses is a non-fiction history book that I liked. First, I liked it because it was set during WWII, which is something I am interested in. Secondly, this book is about five teenagers, which I can relate to because I am in the same age group. Each of their diaries was found. They all were Jewish, they all died.

In We Are Witnesses there are five main characters, David Rubinowicz, Yitzhak Rudashevski, Moshe Flinker, Eva Heyman, and Anne Frank. There is a whole chapter on each one of them. They all have the same big conflict, the Nazis. The Nazis forced the Jews to move into a ghetto, and each character had to do that. They all lived in different parts of Europe. They all had money issues. But each one was unique in their own way. For example, Yitzhak joined a club that would meet and do research projects, and learn a few new things. This was Yitzhak's favorite time of day. Eva Heyman admired her mother and wanted to be just like her. Each day was a struggle to live. There was barely enough food for any of them to eat. They all had to put their faith in God, that He would save them from the power of the Nazis.

Each character had their own religious beliefs but Moshe Flinker's was the most unique of all. He believed that if the Germans kept on taking over more land and the Jews kept on being killed then, when it seemed like all hope was lost, God would save the Jews from the Nazis. Moshe Flinker's story also was one that stuck out in my mind because he almost made it to Vichy France, which was a part of France that was not taken over by the Germans. Another memorable story was when David Rubinowicz was forced to move from his house and into a ghetto, but he many times was able to walk to his old house. One of the times he witnessed a Jew getting shot right in front of him.

From the very beginning of the book, the author tells that all of the characters die. They all did, but their life stories will be something that you never will forget. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who likes non-fiction history books. There were very good parts to the book but also some bad parts. The bad parts were where it got confusing. For example, when the author got into too much detail about a character's life. Also when Moshe Flinker tried to explain his religious beliefs it got very confusing. Although I knew the deaths of all the characters were certain from the beginning, I wanted to read this book because these people had to live with fear every day. But each one was strong enough to not let that fear get to them, and tried to live their lives like you and me.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars we are witnesses 13 Jan 2003
By veronica - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We are witnesses by Jacob Boas, is a GREAT book to read it gives you different views of teenagers that went through diffuculty during the holocaust. As you know, the person who was in charge of the holocaust was Hitler. All the teeangers talked about hope they always had the hope to live and to have their own family. They never talked about hate, they never said they hate hitler the only thing that they said was that he was responsible for what was happening. This was shocking to me because I would hate the person who had my family killed. Wouldn't you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Source of Information on the Holocaust 2 Jan 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Have you ever wondered what life for Jewish teens was like during the Holocaust? David, Yitzhak, Moshe, Eva, and Anne were five Jewish teens who lived and died during the Holocaust. Each of their lives and deaths are captured in this book, which uses factual information and chosen portions of their diary entries to compare their experiences. Boas efficiently chooses information to show what was happening at different times and places. His choice of entries, like Anne writing "...in spite of everything I still think people are really good at heart," supports the main theme that it is in the human nature to never give up hope. This book is very informational and eye opening, although it does not develop the five individual stories, which would make it more interesting and understandable. This book is good for anyone, but young adult readers will probably get the most out of it beacuse the main characters are young adults. This book made me want to learn more and gave me a greater understanding of the Holocaust.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars we are Witnesess 5 Dec 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book I read was we are Witnesses by Jacob Bias. The book is about five teenagers who lived and died in the Holocaust. I liked this book because I interacted with how kids my age as Jews had to deal with the Holocaust. The teens in this book had to hide and live there lives as people in attics or camps. They were driven out of their homes most belongings left behind. Some of their family were taken away like there dad or mom. Even in hiding some were robbed, not only the families in this book went through this but all the Jews who lived around Europe during the holocaust. Some Jews survived the holocaust but millions of Jews died and in this story you read about how these teens had to deal with it.
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