Books by Vera W. Propp

WHEN THE SOLDIERS WERE GONE by Vera W. Propp
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

Young Henk is shocked to learn that the two strangers at the door are his real parents, come to reclaim him from the Dutch farming couple who had protected him for three years from the Nazis. This fictionalized account of an actual "hidden child's" post-WWII experience is written in spare, ingenuous style, effectively capturing an eight-year-old's view of a reasonably familiar, comfortable world suddenly turned upside down. His initial upset calmed by the patient, loving adults around him, he gradually adapts to living in a war-damaged town, to answering to his real name, "Benjamin," and to a new baby brother (actually an orphaned cousin) as his buried memories slowly begin to resurface. Propp's protagonist never develops a distinct personality, but his experiences at home, at school, and at play focus not so much on wider historical issues as on what would be important to a child: food, friends, a sense of belonging. Readers whose interest in hidden children has been sparked by such nonfiction works as Maxine B. Rosenberg's Hiding To Survive (1994) will find this an edifying look at the difficulties younger survivors faced in making the transition to peacetime. (Fiction. 10-12) Read full book review >