Top positive review
29 people found this helpful
on 8 October 2009
A brilliant story of danger and survival in Nazi Germany.
Polish orphan Peter is 'Volksdeutscher' - of German blood, and looks the Aryan ideal with his blond hair and blue eyes. He is sent to Berlin, where he is invited to live with the Kaltenbach family. He soon realises that he does not share Professor and Frau Kaltenbach's pro-Nazi ideals. At first he thinks that he is alone in not accepting the Nazi ideology that's all around him, but gradually he realises that he is not alone. He falls in love, and becomes involved with the highly-dangerous anti-Nazi free-thinkers, which includes assisting Jews that have gone underground. He also discovers, on more than one occasion, that you can't always judge someone by first impressions.
The story vividly portrays the dangers of wartime Berlin. Peter appears to be the ideal Hitler-Jugend member; obedient, brave and in good physical health. Underneath, though, he never loses his compassion and generosity of spirit. The story doesn't flinch from giving details of what might (and frequently did) happen to those judged dispensible by the Nazis, but doesn't dwell on the cruelty. This would be a great "background" read for those interested in discovering more about this period of history. It is also ideal for demonstrating that not all Germans were Nazis - a common misconception among the young.