A Holocaust mosaic with a particular focus on children, constructed from period photos and short extracts from diaries or survivors’ accounts.
Woolf pithily links the documentary material in a narrative and fills in historical background—properly noting at the outset that Jews weren’t the Nazis’ only targets and closing with the cogent observation that anti-Semitic violence didn’t stop with the war’s end. In between, a crazy quilt of passages in italics records the experiences of young people before and after Kristallnacht, in the Kindertransport and other flights, as hidden children (including one boy disguised as a girl), in the forced relocations to ghettos and to concentration and extermination camps. Biographical information about the authors of these testimonials ranges from little to none. Still, many have faces thanks to the many family snapshots that mingle with more journalistic photos of people being herded by soldiers, of camp facilities and of poignant artifacts. Following a provocative authorial comment that most “ordinary people” turned a blind eye to what was happening “because it was easier, in the end, to ignore something that didn’t affect them personally,” a quick look at postwar recovery efforts and commemorations is capped with a reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It’s a quick skim with higgledy-piggledy page design, but it’s carefully tuned to spark thought and discussion rather than to shock alone. (timeline, websites, fiction and nonfiction bibliographies, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)