Parallel Journeys by Eleanor Ayer

July 16, 2017
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What do you first think when you hear about Jews? Many people think about the Jewish concentration camps during World War II. In the book Parallel Journeys, Helen Waterford was one of these Jews who was tortured during the Nazi Regime. Helen Waterford was born in Frankfurt, Germany during the beginning of the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany; as a young child she had many opportunities others did not have; her father was a well to do businessman and she was able to go to school. Then with her parent’s dismay, Hitler began is extermination of Jews. After marrying Siegfried Wohlfarth, Helen and her husband fled to Holland. Her parents left for the U.S. later. After having her daughter, Doris. Germany invaded Holland and the Wohlfarths went into hiding and gave up their daughter to a Catholic family. After that, Helen was separated from Siegfried and was forced into concentration camps where Helen lived in misery. In my opinion, Helen was a strong woman who went through a lot. She was robbed of her freedom but tried to live at the camps as decently as possible. I admire that even though she faced challenges, she tried to do the best she could. She was perseverant and worked as hard as possible for Germany, Jews, and her family. She was rewarded and was able to take Doris to America and found and lived with her family.

 

Alfons Heck meanwhile lived in Wittlich, Germany and was what Hitler considered his Master Race; he was a healthy teenager, an Aryan, and a patriotic German. During his childhood, Alfons was heavily influenced by Nazism. Alfons decided to join the Hitlerjund (Hitler Youth) and became a loyal and obedient German. As Alfons grew older, he went up and up in the ranks of the Hitler Youth until and 16he was an equivalent of a general and commanded about 4,000 boys. Alfons was eager to join the Luftwaffe (air force) but with the degrading Germany at the end of the war, he was not able to. At last, Alfons met Hitler at the end of the war. When the Americans took over Germany, and the French occupied Wittlich and Alfons left for Canada. Alfons realized that he was mistaken. He was hypnotized by Hitler and was not able to see all the bad things happening around him. When he went to America, he and Helen lectured about the war. I respect Alfons very much. He was loyal, strong, and brave. He did not realize what was happening and just thought for the betterment for his Germany. He was very obedient and tried to help others as much as possible.


I have learned a lot of moral lessons from Parallel Journeys. First, it shows me that I should think before I act. If Alfons would have done this, he would have not gotten into such a mess. I should also try to do my best no matter what comes my way. Helen was perseverant all the way and tried to stay as possible as she could. This temporarily helped her from the horrid fate of her friends. In the future, when I have to decide Parallel Journeys will help me distinguish between right and wrong.






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