Age 12 & Up
Fourteen-year-old Daniel is Jewish. He can barely remember leading a normal life before the Nazis came to power in 1933. All over Germany, Jews are facing the dangers of anti-Semitism, as they are no longer able to practice their religion, vote, own property, or even work. Memories of happiness and safety are fading as Daniel and his family are forced from their comfortable home in Frankfurt to go first to the Lodz ghetto in Poland, and then to the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Daniel now asks himself the simplest of questions. What has happened to me? Who am I? Where am I going? – and cannot begin to find answers. Recording the Nazi atrocities with a smuggled camera, Daniel is exposed to the savageries of an extreme prejudice unleashed.
Daniel fears not only for his life and the lives of the people he loves, but for the continued existence of his tribe when he says, “Generations of our family have lived here going back a thousand years, but it looks as if we will be the last.” The brutal Nazis do kill most of his family, but Daniel fights to survive, and in the end is able to find hope and love in the midst of his despair.
Carol Matas’ evocative story complements the exhibit “Daniel’s Story: Remember the Children” at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and while Matas’ novel is fictional, it is carefully based on the accounts of survivors. Readers will find the overwhelming subject of the Holocaust accessible through this powerful and deeply personal story.