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PETER'S WAR by Deborah Durland DeSaix


A Boy's True Story of Survival in World War II Europe

by Deborah Durland DeSaix & Karen Gray Ruelle ; illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix

Pub Date: March 3rd, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2416-0
Publisher: Holiday House

Sympathetic and brave French citizens help a Jewish boy survive World War II.

Born in Germany to comfortable and nonobservant Jewish parents, Peter Feigl has a good life. When Hitler comes to power, however, they move to Czechoslovakia, Austria, Belgium, and finally France in search of safety. When, ultimately, Peter’s parents are deported to Auschwitz, Peter finds shelter with French families on La Montagne Protestante, among a community of Huguenots. What follows is a harrowing time of hiding, tricking German soldiers, and finally being spirited to safety in Switzerland. Peter kept two diaries in which he recorded his feelings and activities, excerpts from which appear throughout. In an epilogue and notes, the authors provide more detailed and very accessible background information on French Resistance activities, the diaries, and the Holocaust as it affected one Jewish child who was in fact baptized. The account of their interviews with Peter should fascinate readers and perhaps encourage them to undertake similar projects. Graphite-and-watercolor illustrations complement the inclusion of many black-and-white photographs. This is a valuable addition to the shelves of Holocaust literature, highlighting both the single-minded determination of the Germans and the heroic efforts of one French community. Peter, who is multilingual, worked with the French Resistance and eventually moved to America, where he frequently speaks to groups about his wartime experiences.

An important, well-written account of survival against overwhelming odds.

(map, bibliography, recommended resources) (Biography. 8-12)