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The English German Girl (2000)

by Jake Wallis Simons(Favorite Author)
3.95 of 5 Votes: 4
review 1: The story of a German-Jewish family in pre-war Nazi Germany that was forced to send their eldest daughter to England in the hopes that she would be able to obtain exit visas for the remainder of the family which they had been unable to obtain in Germany. The characters are well developed and I felt like I knew this family and felt their anguish as their comfortable existence was destroyed. Only 14 when she was sent to England on the kinder transport, Rosa lives with distant relatives, adjusts to life in England and tries to obtain visas for her family but is unable to before the war breaks out and the borders are closed. After a falling out with her host family Rosa makes her way to London and applies to train as a nurse and the story shifts to her life there while alwa... moreys keeping the story of her German family and the distant family with whom she had resided in the story to varying degrees. The story of her life as a probationary nurse and later as a senior nurse was fascinating from the standpoint of the nature of nursing in the 1940's and seemed historically accurate from the uniforms to the nursing duties.I found myself wanting more information about the family left back in Germany and while I think it was the author's narrative choice for us not to know what was going on with the family just as Rosa was in the dark, I still would have liked more information about their lives throughout the book.
review 2: Just when it’s time to settle into Fall and think Autumn thoughts I read The English German Girl by Jake Wallis Simons, one of Britain’s up and coming authors. A tale of the Kindertransport of WWII moving Jewish children to Britain for safety. Promises were made that they wouldn’t be gone forever and that parents and other siblings who didn’t get a visa would be waiting when they came home. There were no homes to come back to and, sadly, not many family members, either.Rosa Klein is the child of wealth when we meet her. Her father is a doctor and her mother cares for her three children faithfully. Older brother, Heinrich, is outspoken and brash and little sister, Hedi, has apparent issues with development but Mama soldiers on. Rosa is the mainstay of the family at nine years old, just old enough to have friends, go to the bakery alone and enjoy life in Berlin.Fast forward six years. Things have changed – immensely. Father has lost his job because he is Jewish and the family is living in a slum. A friend who is a policeman brings them some food when he can and they spend all day, every day, at embassies trying to get passports or visas to leave Germany with no luck. Finally, Rosa’s uncle offers to take her and arrangements are made to go to Britain which, of course, is having it’s own issues with Germany. Uncle Gerald and Aunt Mimi are expecting a nine-year old girl and get a blossoming fifteen year old in stead. Mimi is immediately put off and wants her to go back but that can’t be done. Rosa becomes a housekeeper for them although treated fairly well – until their son goes off to warm, is injured and returns. Then things begin to change. All Rosa wants is peace which is in short supply.This book broke my heart. I loved it, hated it and read every page into the night. I couldn’t put it down because I was afraid I would miss something! A true depiction of the damages done to families in WWII, both German and British. If you are a history buff or just like a true story made fiction this is a must read. less
Reviews (see all)
good book slow to start but quickly became captivated very thought provoking compelling reading
I found the beginning of the book set in Germany more interesting than the second half.
Beautiful and devastating.
Just not for me.
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