Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf

May 31, 2011
By
This book is an amazing story about remembering who you are, even in the most dire circumstances. I loved it because it was a Holocaust book, but it wasn’t about someone in a concentration camp, so it was different. This book was about a girl that was part of the “Aryan”, or “perfect society”. It showed that, even if you were considered perfect, there were still lots of problems and hardships to overcome.

This book begins in Czechoslovakia (when the Czech Republic and Slovakia were one country.) The main character is an eleven-year-old girl named Milada. In the beginning of the book, she knows who the Nazis are, since they have been rationing all of the food in her country, but she hasn’t been seriously affected by them, yet. Then, one night, Nazis come into her home and demand that her family pack up their things and come with them. After they do this, her Papa and older brother are taken away from her, her mother, her grandmother, and her baby sister. All of the women in the town are taken to an empty school gym, while all of the men are taken away to an unknown place. In the gym, the women wait for days and days for something to happen. Finally, something does happen. Doctors start to come in and examine all the children in the gym. But, they only look at the children like Milada that have blond hair and blue eyes. Then, these children that seem to make the doctors happy are taken away on a separate bus to a strange place away from the rest of their families. As Milada is leaving, her grandmother tells her, “remember who you are,” and gives her a bird-shaped pin.

All of the girls and boys that have blond hair and blue eyes that are under 12 years old are taken to a sort of school. There is one for girls and a different one for boys. As they all walk in, they are each given new German names, and are forbidden to use their real names or speak their original language ever again. Milada is renamed Eva. All of the girls are told that they are going to be taught German history, culture, and are told that they are the “new Germany”. They are going to be taught about Germany, and then adopted into German families. Milada, now Eva, realizes that the reason she was taken away was because she had blond hair and blue eyes. She fits the definition of an “Aryan” girl or, in other words, she is “perfect”.

The lessons start, and as more time passes, Eva has to try harder and harder to keep her identity and remember the Milada she once was. She starts learning German, and is no longer allowed to speak Czech, her native language. The time finally comes for her to be adopted, and she is, into a loving German family. She still misses her real family, though. She still tries her best to keep her promise to remember who she is, but important parts of her old life are fading. Soon, the war is almost over, and by this time, Eva has even forgotten her first name, her language, and she is struggling to stay true to her culture. Yet, she has grown to love her German family, her parents, and her brother and sister. She feels torn between her two “families”. When the war actually ends, and Hitler dies, she is invited to go back to her real mother. She accepts the offer whole-heartedly, which makes her German family very sad. But she goes anyway, and tries as hard as she can to remember her language and culture from before the war. She eventually succeeds, and is satisfied that she was able to find herself once more.





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jen.xo said...
Dec. 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm
it was a star shaped pin. she traced it with her finger to remember who she was.  
 
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