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Something Remains

Review

Something Remains

Ellwangen, Germany, 1933. Erich Levi is a normal 12-year-old boy. He's a good student, enjoys spending time at the local pool with his two best friends, and is looking forward to his bar mitzvah next year. Slowly, his life begins to change for the worse when the National Socialist Party under the direction of Adolf Hitler is elected to power. His German teacher ridicules him and accuses him of cheating. The few classmates who will still talk to him, the ones who haven't joined the Hitler Youth, are often torn between what their families and school expect of them and their loyalty to Erich.

At home, Erich's father is under a lot of stress from his job. People won't buy his products at the local market, and he worries about supporting his family. Friends are turning into enemies, and family members speak in hushed tones about what might become of the future. Though he faces oppression with determination, Erich's father knows that his beloved housekeeper Fanny speaks the truth: Things are going to get worse for the Jewish people of Germany before they get better.

Using real-life events and people (some names have been changed), Inge Barth-Grozinger has recreated a coming-of-age novel that moves from normal to terrifying. The result is something that, if it happened today, might read like a diary. From our outsider's perspective more than 60 years after the end of World War II, it's almost easy for us to follow the progression of events that led to Erich having to sacrifice everything he knew and loved. But we must remember that Erich and his family could not predict the future.

This story of a boy who tried to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary, terrible time is both hopeful and saddening. Erich and his family were lucky enough to escape the concentration camps, but they lost an important part of their lives: the home, friends and family they had known for years. They were fortunate enough to have help in their escape from Nazi Germany, something too many families did not have.

SOMETHING REMAINS is a slightly different Holocaust book from others you might have read. Rather than deal with the large-scale consequences of Hitler's Third Reich, it is a look at the beginning, at all the small changes that allowed Hitler to build the foundation for his Final Solution.

Reviewed by Carlie Webber on October 1, 2006

Something Remains
by Inge Barth-Grözinger

  • Publication Date: May 13, 2008
  • Genres: Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • ISBN-10: 0786838817
  • ISBN-13: 9780786838813