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The Devil's Arithmetic (1988)
de Jane Yolen
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I had originally read this, I think, back in junior high. I only remembered the title. Overall, it wasn't bad and if you remember that it's a thirteen year old girl who doesn't know much about the Holocaust. Yes, it's a made up camp but some of the camps she memntions (Chelmno, Sobibor, Treblinka) were actually pure death camps/extermination camps while Auschwitz, Dauchau, and the like were work/concentration camps or a mix of both concentration/death camps. A good work of fiction that deals with the death camps is "The Commandant of Lubisec" which is a fictional camp and told in the style of a documentary.
Everything a book about the Holocaust should be: brutal and important.
Appropriately, I finished this book about the necessity of remembering on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Hannah and her family are celebrating Passover. When Hannah opens the door to look for Elijah, she is transported back in time to 1942 Poland, as the Nazi's are rounding up the Jews for the final solution. Chaya (Hannah) tries to warn her family and friends what is happening, but to no avail as history marches ahead anyway. This book is primarily aimed at younger readers. Yolen's afterword is a highlight.
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Hannah resents the traditions of her Jewish heritage until time travel places her in the middle of a small Jewish village in Nazi-occupied Poland.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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I just...want to mention the...title of the book and references that were made to it. I thought it was done well. I like when titles are referred to in books, and especially if it's subtle, as it was here. The devil in Judaism is not the personification of all evil. It's not viewed the way Christianity does at all. Satan is literally a fallen angel, and it's a job description really. "The fallen angel." "The secretary." That sort of thing. MyJewishLearning explains this much better. This is something that was slipped into the book for Christian audiences, and I get why. I set the book down so I could think about this for awhile.
Over and over, I thought of how much violence had been cut out. Yolen cuts right to the aftermath and doesn't spell out a lot of things, and the horror is absolutely there. There's horrid-ness she doesn't explore as this is a children's book, but it permeated the book. I imagined it taking place just right over there, off-page, and was miserable. Hannah goes back to modern time at a point, and I cried when she has a brief conversation with a family member. So this book made me cry. I'm adjusting to my emotions around that. What a journey! What a way to write about this. I'm so glad I got to read it, and the emotions that did come up. It was written in 1988, but could have been written in modern-day. Yolen's a skilled writer. I hope this is widely read. ( )