Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf

1328363Fiction — print. Clarion Books, 2007. 200 pgs. Library copy.

I decided to read Wolf’s book because, as I mentioned in my Library Loot vlog for December, I had a very interesting discussion with one of my professors on when the right time to introduce children to the Holocaust is and how much should be divulged. Neither of us reached a conclusion, but I wanted to read a book — fiction or nonfiction — addressing the Holocaust from the juvenile section of my public library in order to see what exactly has been deemed “appropriate” for children.

Someone Named Eva tells the story of eleven-year-old Milada from Lidice, Cezchoslovakia, a town that is completely razed and all of the inhabitants are deported as retribution for the assassination of one of Hitler’s most trusted advisor. Through an obscure and rarely discussed program, Milada is trained to be a “proper” German in Poland, renamed with a ‘good’ German named, and adopted by a German family. Before she is sent away, however, Milada’s grandmother instructs her to remember her name, remember where she comes home, and remember her history.

I’ve read another book about the Lebensborn program – My Enemy’s Cradle by Sara Young – that focuses on a different aspect of the program, but this is the first I have heard of the “Germanification” of youth. As the book continues on, I had to keep reminding myself that the lack of details about the Lebensborn program is because this book is geared towards juvenile readers. Had I read this as a child I would probably have been completely satisfied with the amount detail but as an adult reader, I wanted a bit more detail.

Keeping the fact that it is meant for younger readers than myself in mind, it is a pretty good book for young readers. While it takes quite a while to reach the climax of the tale and it wraps up too quickly for my taste, the reaction of Evan and the other girl she is deported with to their situation makes for quite an interesting tale.

As for my original reason for reading this novel, Milada’s forced removal from her family probably would be very alarming. Her family and her neighbors suffer greatly at the hand of the Nazis, and I am glad to see there is a book for children on the Holocaust that focuses on other victims of the Nazi regime.

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