________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 5 . . . . October 30, 1998

cover Good-bye Marianne: A Story of Growing Up in Nazi Germany.

Irene N. Watts.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 1998.
105 pp., paper, $8.99.
ISBN 0-88776-445-2.

Subject Headings:
Germany-History-1933-1945-Juvenile fiction.
Jews-Germany-History-20th century-Juvenile fiction.
Kindertranspots (Rescue operations)-Juvenile fiction.
Jews-Persecutions-Germany-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4 - 7 / Ages 9 - 12.
Review by Mary Thomas.

*** /4

Good-bye Marianne is a very quiet book. It does not shout the inequities of pre-war Germany, but it makes the reader aware of them by that very quality of underemphasis. Marianne is an 11-year-old girl who likes school, hates math, has friends, plays games, skips rope, just like other girls her age, but she is a Jew, and this is Germany in 1938. The story opens with her arriving at school to find the doors locked against her and the notice, "As of today, Jewish students are prohibited from attending German schools" stuck to the door. Her father has already "gone underground," moving from place to place to avoid being arrested; she and her mother make the best of things even as everything deteriorates around them, with their one hope being an exit permit for the whole family.

      This dream does not come true. In the end, Marianne's mother is able to get Marianne a place on the first of the Kinderstransport - a relief effort aimed at getting children out of Germany. In all, this organization rescued over 10,000 children, saving them from almost certain death at the expense of removing them from country, friends and family. Marianne's close relationship with her mother, contrasted with the atrocities she sees daily in the city, helps the reader to understand just how traumatic the times were and how desperate were the measures that had to be taken. Readers rejoice with Marianne as she disembarks in England - but do not learn what happens to her parents.

      For those who think that the war was a time for heroics and wonderful opportunities for bravery, this book points out the reasons why it had to happen and the drab dreadfulness it brought with it for most people. The spark of hope that is a common ingredient of children's literature is found not only in Marianne's escape from Berlin but also in a card she is given by a friend as she is about to leave the country. The donor was a true Aryan German, a member of the Hitler Youth, but when confronted with the realization that Marianne is Jewish, he managed to affirm friendship and say "We are not all the same!" Thusly, the seeds of post-war reconciliation are planted even before the actual fighting began.


Mary Thomas has worked for seven years in various elementary school libraries in Winnipeg and is now on leave of absence with her husband in Oxford for a year.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364