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Daniel, half-human and the good Nazi
Book
2004
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Gr. 7-12. In Hamburg, Germany, in the 1930s, Daniel enjoys being part of the Hitler Youth until he discovers his mother is Jewish and he is thrown out of his elite school. He still has fun with his best friend, Armin, who falls in love with Daniel's Jewish cousin; but tension mounts, racism is rampant, and Armin begins to stay away, though he takes risks and warns his friend to hide. Daniel's return to Hamburg in 1945 as interpreter for the Allies frames the novel, which switches among the viewpoints of too many characters, including Daniel's parents, who fight about whether to leave the country. But the detailed history woven into the fiction (including the effect of Germany's defeat in World War I, Hitler's rise, and the violence of Kristallnacht) helps make this clearly translated novel an important title for the Holocaust curriculum, especially given the friendship drama that keeps raising ethical questions to the very last page. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

A young American army officer drives through the ruins of Hamburg in 1945, remembering his childhood there, from his celebration with his best friend of the rise of the Nazi party until his flight with his family after Kristallnacht. Daniel is appalled to discover that his mother is Jewish and that, therefore, he cannot join the Hitler Youth with Armin, but nevertheless the two remain best friends until history and ambition drive them apart. Chotjewitz tells his story deliberately, flashing back and forth from Daniel's post-war first-person narration to a measured third-person narration that moves from 1933 to 1939. Readers will feel Daniel's self-loathing upon learning that he is half-Jewish, his mother's growing hysteria as she realizes her blood damns them all, his lawyer father's increasingly desperate faith in the German capacity for reason, and Armin's conflict as he struggles to be both a good friend and a good Nazi. There are many Holocaust books for children, but this one stands out in its careful dissection of one family's experience before the war, and in its nuanced approach to the complexity of emotions and relationships under stress. (glossary) (Fiction. 12+) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
In 1933, best friends Daniel and Armin admire Hitler, but as anti- Semitism buoys Hitler to power, Daniel learns he is half Jewish, threatening the friendship even as life in their beloved Hamburg, Germany, is becoming nightmarish. Also details Daniel andArmin's reunion in 1945 in interspersed chapte
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