Monday, May 13, 2013

My Family For War

Namrata, Sophia and Leslie
Post #1 - Introduction
Post #2 - Organizing The History
Post #3 - Photo Project
Post #4 - Individual Responsibility and Resistance
Post #5 - Perpetrators, Collaborators, Bystanders, and Rescuers
Post #6 - Final Project - The Suitcase Project


  1. Hello, my name is Leslie. Today, i will be telling you about my understanding on what the Holocaust is. It all started when the people of Germany had elected a man named Hitler. No one had any idea what he had planned for the country's future. All he wanted to do was eliminate all of the Jewish people from the country. The Jewish people were being discriminated against, making them seem worthless and unsuperior to the rest of Germany. They were forced out of school, and fired from their jobs. They basically had every right and privilege taken away from them.

  2. The dictionary definition of holocaust is:
    A mass slaughter of people.
    The word holocaust is associated with anti-semitism. This anti-semitism did indeed lead to a mass slaughter of people.The Nazi party that wished to rid their land of the Jews was led by Adolf Hitler who carried out. During the holocaust, Jews were gathered up and put into concentration camps, where they endured hard labour and unsanitary living conditions. They were exectued in gas chambers when they became old or "useless". As a result of this act a worldwar 2 took place and thousands of European civillians and Jews were killed. Overall, the holocaust is a sad example of an extreme act of discrimination.

  3. The holocaust was a horrible slaughtering of people with Jewish roots. Adolf hitler, born April 20, was elected to become a new leader to all the people. It all changed when he announced his true goals, the disappearance of the Jewish race. It was proven, after the aftermath, that Hitler had a unhealthy obsession with Jews. With his party, the Nazi's, Hitler proceeded to obliterate the Jews entire existance.
    Putting them into work camps, gassing them, destroying them, Hitler killed millions upon millions of Jewish people.
    This is a perfect example of racism at its worst.

  4. The novel, My Family for the War introduced me to kindertransports, that were used to take children to safety from the terrors of Germany while the war. Kindertransports brought in thousands of refugee Jewish children to Great Britain. In Britain, they were given a chance to start their life again, without discrimination, and fear around every bend of the road. The children were accepted by families that gave them shelter and protection until the end of the war.

    “My family for the war” describes in detail, the goings on outside of Britain, and the progress of the war. This story takes place just as the war begins.

    The author has beautifully summed up the story for the victims of the holocaust:
    How can you call a place
    Home when your neighbors
    Think you’re the enemy?

    Franziska is a young girl, running from her fate as a Jew in Germany. Although their family plans to immigrate to a different location where they can live in safety, they are not able to go when Ziska’s father is captured by the Germans. Her mother will not leave without her husband. The war breaks the heart of even the strongest person she has ever known – her mamu.

    Although not experienced in life, she is torn from her family and must leave behind her sense of belongingness, and tries to piece together a new life.

    Ziska parts from her family at the beginning of the war through kindertransport smuggling children out of Germany. In Great Britain, she is taken in by a Jewish family, where she spends the length of her life, with only letters to her family reminding her of the life she left. At first she struggles to fit in and her thoughts are of her mamu and papa back home. Slowly she is able to adapt to her new life. Through her journey, she tries to find a place for herself. A place where she fits. A place where she is safe and loved. She searches for a family. Ziska makes friends along the way and ingrains herself into the hearts of everyone she meets. In the end, her family is much larger than just her mother and father, her foster parents, and brother. She collects a family, and together they all fight through this war. Her family, for the war………….

    The questions I pose for my blogging partners are-
    What resonates with you from this story about the life of Franziska? What else did you learn from this book that you were unaware of earlier? What new questions have come up even after finishing this book?
    I wonder what it would have been like to have been in the shoes of our protagonist. What would become of our courage and hope living under the harsh conditions and reality of this world. Being discriminated against and leaving home at the tender age of eleven. What would I have become in the shoes of Franziska Mangold?

  5. Post #3:
    Family for the war starts with a setting-
    Ziska and her friend create a plan; an escape route in case they are under the threat of being of being captured or harmed because of their Jewish origin.

    Even at the beginning at this story, our protagonist faces the difficulty of life as a Jew, although they had converted to Christianity many generations back. She is discriminated and seen as less than, or different than those not of Jewish origin.
    Before Ziska enters the world of war and learns the feeling of being hated, she lived the normal life of a real person that she was not considered to be as the Nazis took over. Before the beginning of anti-Semitism, she did well in school, not needing to sit at the back row of the room, or feeling judged. She was loved and had many close friends of different origin. Then there was a wrong turn in the road. All went downhill as the secret of her Jewish ancestry was reviled.

    I think this photograph depicts the life of young girl Ziska before she parts her family-

    Her father is arrested and taken by German officers in the November of 1938 just as hints of war started to spread. At the time that the Kristallnacht in German begins, where Jewish shops were destroyed, looted, and burned. This is described in the book. Ziska sees streets full of broken glass and a window painted with the Star of David, smashed in, with shopkeepers left to clean the mess the Nazis have made. In a shop there are broken glass bottles, dented tin cans swimming in a puddle of spices and jams. After this incident, Ziska and her mother give up the opportunity to travel to Shanghai when her father isn’t released. Later, she unwillingly leaves her family to take refuge in the safety of England, when she boards the kindertransport in Berlin. Her mother, father, aunt, uncle, and their children flee to Holland in 1939 after Ziska takes her leave. It is later invaded by Germany in 1940 in the month of May.

    The war is underway by 1939. In London, Franziska is evacuated to the countryside as bomb raids threaten families towards the end of 1939 around the month of October. She than returns when her foster mother, Amanda calls her home. During this time, her brother, Gary has joined the Navy to help provide protection for supply ships on the dangerous journey through the Atlantic. Amanda loses her son to his excitement of war, and her husband deserts them to join in on the action. He travels to France to entertain the soldiers with his small theater and winds up back at home in London, when he is rescued from a beach near Dunkirk in Belgium. With him, a large number of soldiers were evacuated, between May 26th to June 3rd,1940, when Belgium surrenders to the Nazis.
    Finally, after all many struggles, Fraziska joins her mother at the end of the war, after 1945, although her mother is no longer the strict, strong women she once knew. The sights of war have scarred her for life, and have taken a toll on her body.

    Ziska joins her weak mother-
    This picture reminds me of Ziska, her mother, and her husband at the end of the story. As one may have pictured, her mother is elated to see her daughter, but her days are passing away fast and she no longer sees the world as she once had.

    I feel that the situation that the author has put Franziska in has enabled her to prove herself, and her courage many times over.
    After finishing the book, I am touched by the hardships that Ziska endured and grateful for my own simple life. I have realized the meaning of hate, sadness, and pain as I have seen the world through her eyes, experienced her feelings, every step of the way. In the end, “the loose ends of her family are woven together” as the author stated.

  6. Blog #2
    Before reading this book I knew next to nothing about the kinder transport, yet with reading this book, it gave a detailed explanation of how the children were transported, how they were picked up, and how many experienced abandonment when they got there.
    Ziska, a quiet girl who lives in Germany, is pulled apart from her family due to Hitler taking power and starting to take Jewish people from their homes. After her father is taken into the town jail with many other Jewish men for simply being Jewish, Ziska’s mother, or Mamu, sends Ziska on a kinder transport. Away from her best friend Bekka, away from her family, and into London, it which on the train she meets a young boy named Walter. When Ziska arrives, she soon discovers that her foster parents, the ones who would take care of her till she was able to earn enough money so that her family can get into London, have abandoned her. Ziska joins many other children in an orphanage-like set up until, after a humorous incident with a car door, she finds herself part of the Sheperd’s family, with Dr. Sheperd, his son Gary, their maid Millie and the woman of the house, Mrs.Sheperd. Though Ziska and Mrs.Sheperd get off to a rough start, they soon become closer to each other. Ziska is given a new name, Francesca, but Gary calls her Frances, till that is her new name, as Gary’s new sister. The most recent event in the book is Gary’s birthday. Earlier in the story, Frances had met with Walter and his father, and he was invited to Gary’s birthday. Gary has a secret that he shares with Frances, instead of going to Oxford University; he is joining the navy to help with the war. The story left off with Frances about to write a letter to her family.
    Events in the real world that happened around this time took some time to figure out. By the fact that the war hasn’t started yet, I guessed this was around later 1939 to early 1940. Around this time, Jewish people were prohibited to working as, nurses, veterinarians, holistic practitioners and dentists, which matches with how Ziska’s father losing his job as a lawyer at the time. In early February, Senator Robert Wagner of New York and Representative Edith Rogers of Massachusetts sent out a bill to permit 20 000 children, ages 14 and under, from the Greater German Reich to the United States over the course of two years, these two years happened to be 1939 and 1940. Many other things happen over the next few months. Slovakia, under pressure from Germany, makes itself independent from the Czecho-Slovakia state, and the tragic tale of the St. Louis takes place then.
    My questions for this book are more about the story happenings then anything else.
    My first question is: ‘Why was Ziska more comfortable with the name Frances then Francesca?’ This confused me and, I have an idea why, but when reading it through it never specifically said the reason for her comfort with the name.
    I wonder what exactly happened in the scene of Ziska’s break down before she receives her new name. I know Ziska must’ve been under horrible pressure of seeing this new family, but the scene went by especially quickly, making it hard to grasp the reasoning in the entire thing.
    I wonder why children were even let into the United States. Why was that two year permit passed, when the United States refused access to the 900 Jewish people on the St. Louis, only a few months after the kinder transport?

  7. So far in the book, due to the dangers now flooding into London, Frances had to move to Tail’s End, along with other children, as protection from the dangerous happenings. Frances has many interesting experiences, counting a unwanted kiss from a boy, which her friend, Hazel, said she was lucky not to have a baby from! One day, Frances spots a woman, and it’s Amanda Sheperd! She hands Frances a letter from her Mamu, stating the heartbreaking death of her father, and permission to return to London with Mrs. Sheperd.
    Frances life before the war would’ve most likely been in a town similar to Berlin, before the events of the war, she would’ve had a regular day similar to this: She would go to a normal school, hang out with her “boyfriend”, map out hiding spots and escape routes with Bekka, and enjoy the rest if her day with her Mamu.
    Find picture at:
    Berlin had the hugest amount of Jewish folk in all of Germany, with the entire city having a population of 160 000. Between 1933 and 1939 many Jewish people emigrated out of Berlin because of Hitler. By 1939, the population had decreased to 80 000 just from all the Jews who emigrated out of the country.
    I related this to Ziska because her and her family were going to Shanghai, until her father left and many people were planning on leaving the country, so I picked Berlin.
    Like in many German cities, Jews were forced to give their stores away and fired from certain jobs.
    1: “How would you feel being moved from place-to-place all the time, with no real place you can label home that you think will last?”
    2: “What would you bring along, being moved so many times?”
    3: “Would you keep Gary’s secret like how Frances did? Why or why not?”

  8. Post #3:
    As I read further into my book, i started to realize how serious the Holocaust really was. In the book that I'm reading, the Nazi's came into the girl's home and captured her father, and had destroyed the shops that belonged to the Jewish people. After those events, her mother had to make a huge decision whether she should send her daughter away to another country to live with another family. Having close friends who weren’t Jewish, betray you, and treat you like you’re worthless to society. I’m sure this has happened to a lot of other families during the Holocaust. It’s crazy to think that just because of 1 man’s decision to try and eliminate 1 race, everyone listened. The author of this book was not trying to tell a story about the tragic events in the Holocaust; she put you in the characters perspective of what and how it happened. I’m wondering if her mother did send her away to live with another family, if she did; what will happen to her parents, or to her?

    What their life could've looked like before the war:

    What their life was like during:

  9. Sophia,
    in response to your questions,

    1: I would feel unloved and would loose the sense of belonging I have in my family and acceptance in society. All one longs for should be a good family, food, and a warm shelter, but today, we take everything for granted. No object resides with us for more than a few years. One of the things that should matter in my life and those of others, is family. Being away from family, nowhere to call home, I would be desperate for the feeling of protection, the feeling of security and inclusion, and most of all, a yearning to be able to label a place my home, where I belong, and where I shall develop from a child into a fully grown woman. A place that is familiar to me and somewhere I know someone is watching out for me and guiding me.

    2:Of, course I would require essentials used in daily life, but I would pack something to remind me of friends and family from the destination where I have moved from. Perhaps book, letters, presents...

    3: Personally, I would be the one to keep an important secret such as the one between Frances and Gary. I try to define myself as a trustworthy and understand person, and would be even more willing for my older brother. I know that it would be wrong, the guilt would be gnawing at me, but I would also keep in mind, my secret that he carries.

  10. Post #4
    Resistance from Nazi oppression contributed tremendously to the victory of the war, although only a few stood up for the victims of this atrocious act.
    Our story has informed us about the kindertransports used in the holocaust:
    Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, a rescue mission, known as the Refugee Children Movement or the Kindertransport took place. The kindertransport was the name of a series of missions putting efforts towards providing a safe passage for children, from countries where the Nazis took authority. Between the years of 1938 to 1940 this mission worked vigorously to take children to safety. Many Jewish children were given the chance to start a new life where and to be treated as equal, despite their ethnicity. Kindertransports have spared the lives of many children. Carrying out the rescue missions and transporting children onto a new, safe path would have also been risky with the prying eyes of German officers.
    Our protagonist was very privileged to be among the groups of children that were able to seek refuge in the unfamiliar British lands. Ziska boarded a kindertransport that took her to her unexpected future in England where her courage and strength flourishes and grows, even as bomb raids progress.

    Often, throughout the holocaust, escaping was a matter of life and death. Many Jews fled to neighbouring countries such (France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland), seeking safety. Few were successful. Just after the war began, escape became difficult – Nazi Germany permitted emigration from the Reich until the end of 1941. Although many were able to escape, some were rejected from entering other countries due to their ethnicity.
    Franziska’s mother, father, and other relatives were able to flee to Holland, and were given access to necessities such as food and healthcare, but their efforts were worthless when the Nazis soon overtook Holland as well.

    Many Jews made an attempt to stand up for themselves and kept their faith in their unique culture. They have embraced the values that they learned and what they have been exposed to almost their entire lives. This is an act of defiance against the Nazis. Many Jews stayed strong practising their culture and religion.
    Ziska, although not of the Jewish faith, after converting many generations back was targeted by the Nazis due to her Jewish origin. After being exported to England, she was able to accept her culture and a different way of living – the way that was unaccepted by the dictating government of Germany. Many Jews were able to stay strong and close to their belief, although at the cost of many lives. But one’s life should not be taken because of the set of his or her beliefs. Ziska was able to come closer to the religion of her ancestors only after she felt secure in a totally different environment in England after connecting with her foster family where she had to stay strong and believe that god will look over her.
    Obstructions in her path for carrying out her practices in her home in Germany would have been not only those in the Nazis but almost all Germans who marked clearly marked out their differences and established a hierarchy in society.

    Based on what I have learned and experienced, of the tragic events in the holocaust through my book, I know have knowledge of the importance of supporting the innocent. Apathy also played a big role before the rise of the Nazis in Germany. It is essential, as a member of a society to be concerned in what affects you and the wellbeing of others and not to disregard opportunities that arise where one is able to express their own opinion, culture, religion, and what you stand for and by.

  11. Post #4:

    Ziska's family resisted the Nazi's oppression by applying Ziska for a Kinder Transport to leave the country. While other families had left to go live with a relative or friend in another country until the war was over. Some difficulties of this were her not wanting to leave her parents behind, and deciding if she would want to live with complete strangers, who might not even be "family material".

    The Kinder Transport had started in 1938 until 1940. It was also known as the RCM (Rescue Children Movement). The whole purpose of this group was to help Jewish children leave their country, without their parents, to Great Britain. The difficulties for this group were that they couldn’t help the children’s family transport into Great Britain. The children, who had the Kinder Transport, were the only members of their family who had survived. Nearly 10,000 children had been saved by this organization.


    What I think it means to be a responsible citizen for a nation is to be active when it comes to voting for a government. Hitler was chosen to be the leader of Germany, and it was all because some of the people of the nation didn’t care enough to speak up for what is right. And because of that Hitler had complete power over the country, and that’s part of how the Holocaust started. Apathy is what it is.

  12. Blog #4
    The book has took and interesting turn, and not for the better. Frances though it couldn’t get any worse in the war, when the bombing began, bombs everywhere, shelters created and chaos. It did get worse though, much worse, much more gruelling, and much more heartbreaking. The letter arrived, and Gary Sheperd was no more, and Frances world shattered. Mrs. Sheperd wouldn’t respond to her, and she couldn’t keep Gary’s promise to retain her position as the daughter and ‘moral’ of the family. Her good friend from the café suffered a stroke, and her world she built to defend herself is falling apart. On a good note, Walter and his father return from an internment camp, leading to a leaping hug from Frances at the first good sign to have happened to her for a long while.

    Many people ask, why would the Jewish people resist? The answer could be anything depending on the person, it could’ve been out of fear, desperation, anger, panic, inner agony, depression, any reason what-so-ever. Many didn’t retaliate from fear of dying, of not caring enough to bother resisting, or they were dead. Very few actively resisted. There were many passive resistances in the holocaust, from a camp that hired those going to their deaths to save them, to German families whom hid Jewish families in their homes. There were active resistances, there was one story in where five girls from the woman side of a camp snuck ammunition to a small group of men on the men’s side, they used this ammunition to blow up a crematorium, and to kill 35 German soldiers. The men were brutally killed, and the woman hung for a long, long time.
    With all this fear, chaos and death around, many are confused on why the Jews would’ve resisted against such a great power. A simple answer is that they were human, and part of being a human is showing resistance to greater forces. Many whom resisted were scared out of their wits and wanted to run, escape, and save their own hides, so they resisted. Some just wanted to go out with a bang, thinking they were going to die anyways. There were a few, like the men and women I mentioned earlier, whom actually wanted to resist and save their race, by giving them hope of a salvation, and that they could fight back.

    1: ‘Would you resist against the Germans? Why or why not?’
    2: ‘If you did resist, would you make a passive resistance, of an active resistance?’
    3: ‘How would you feel in Frances current position? Would you feel any different?’