When We Were Shadows (Holocaust Remembrance Series) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-04-12 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 5 user ratings

" If I could give this 10 stars, I would. I don't how to put in to words how much I loved When We Were Shadows. Historically well done. This story will not only keep you absolutely riveted but leave your heart changed. I have read a lot about this subject/time period and never knew about this. I wish I had enough copies to get into the hands of every high school student and teacher I could reach.~ My almost 16 year old son is reading it on my kindle now.~ " said.

" Told a lot through letters. Didn't keep my attention for very long. " said.

" IT was a true story from the Holocaust so it was awful, but it was interested to read about the bravery and sacrifices made my the Dutch people. " said.

" This true story follows young Walter as his family flees from Germany hoping to start a new life in the Netherlands. As they face the inhumanness of war they also experience the kindness of strangers as they move from safe house to safe house. Told partly through narrative and Walter's letters to his grandmother, readers will learn of the heroes of the Dutch resistance. " said.

When We Were Shadows
by Janet Wees
Second Story Press
Children's Nonfiction
Pub Date 18 Apr 2018
I am reviewing a copy of When We Were Shadows through Second Story Press and Netgalley:

Walter is a young child when his parents decide to leave their home in Germany and start a new life in the Netherlands. As Jews, they know they are not safe under the Nazi regime.

In this book we not only learn about Walter and his families life during hiding but before it as well.

At first Walter is to young to appreciate the danger that he is in, and everything feels like a great adventure. But as his family is forced to keep moving from city to countryside eventually they are hidden deep in the Dutch woods. Walter soon has his eyes opened to the danger they are in.

I give When We Were Shadows five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
" said.

"This is a moving and sensitive true story about the strength of the human spirit to survive. It is story about the power of a family determined to stay together. It is a story about the compassion and kindness of ordinary individuals who put their lives in danger because they know it is the right thing to do.

The author uses the letters Walter writes to his granddaughter, Jenny, as the background for the story. He waits until Jenny is old enough to share his entire story of fleeing Germany in 1937 as a young child and the fear and horror around him. The rest of the story is told in the letters Walter writes to his oma (grandmother.) After Oma’s death, Walter found the letters wrapped in a bundle in a trunk. They are in the voice of young Walter, who is able to sneak the letters to Oma through the Underground.

When We Were Shadows is a vivid and realistic story that will make readers remember so that this kind of atrocity doesn’t happen again. There are photographs throughout the book of Walter and Hannah, homes where they were hidden, dense forest camouflaged hide-outs and a rebuilt Hidden Village, that add undeniable authenticity to the story.
" said.

Featured on World War II Wednesday on Intellectual Recreation.

This book tells the true story of Walter and his Jewish family. In the early years of Hitler's rise, Walter's family fled to the Netherlands, only to be forced into hiding when the Nazis invaded years later.

This story was so fascinating and harrowing. Walter and his parents are separated from Walter's sister and grandmother who are too physically infirm to weather the harsh living conditions of life on the run. Walter and his parents are moved from place to place with a number of narrow escapes. I was very interested to learn about the make-shift camp set up by the Resistance in a state park.

Walter's story is one of a childhood spent in fear and with extreme limitations, but steadied by the constancy of his parents and the bravery of the Resistance fighters who put their lives on the line to help so many people. I'm so glad that Walter was willing to share his story.
" said.

"Walter knows that changes are coming, but for a six year old boy - he is not really sure what is going on. All he knows is that his family is quiet, and they must be prepared to run at any time. The reason? His family is Jewish, and the German Army is moving closer to their location. Hearing what is happening to other Jewish families, they prepare to move as many times as they need to, leaving everything behind.
Walter's father owns a shop, and as they get ready to leave, the butcher who works close to them comes with a proposition. He will work the shop and keep it open while they are gone, and send the money as he can until they can get back. Walter father's hesitates briefly, before signing over his shop to the kindly butcher.
As they move from place to place, learning to live in quiet and in secret, Walter shares his story through letters he writes to his grandmother. These letters are very vague, but they show the terror and fear that each person felt as they waited.
The war drags on, and the family is separated for a time. While they wait to be reunited, Walter keeps writing, recording his thoughts and daily activities in his notebooks and letters.

This book was an amazing read. Told from the perspective of a young boy growing up amid the terror or WWII, the struggles, fears and survival are plain to see as we move through this book. This is one that I am looking forward to reading with my boys. The ingenuity and those who risked their own lives to help many of the European Jews hide from the incoming German soldiers was astounding. These brave people risked everything, sharing their food, supplies and any information they could glean from listening to those around them. Some were captured and executed, but many survived.

This book is a must read!
" said.

May 2019 New Book:

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