This book is based on a true story, and even though it deals with some hard issues brought about by the German occupation of Amsterdam, it provides an opportunity to discuss World War II from a unique perspective, so that young people may learn from it.
Many of these issues are thoughtfully brought up in conversation during the Plumfield Moms' podcast of their Borrowed House Book Club. We invite you to listen and learn.
During World War II a young German girl, who has been indoctrinated into the Hitler Youth, travels to occupied Amsterdam to rejoin her parents then comes to realize the truth about the war. New introduction by the author’s son, John Tepper Marlin.
“So, you’re falsifying papers?” said Janna. “You belong to the Dutch Resistance.” She looked at him curiously.
The boy shrugged his shoulders. “You could call it that. I’m just helping the van Arkels rescue innocent people from certain death. They need these identification papers and food cards to keep alive. If you betray me, all these people will either starve or be forced to give themselves up to be sent to the gas chambers of a concentration camp.”
“Gas chambers?” Janna looked at the boy with horror. “You mean … they are killed?”
The book looked sternly at her. “Do you think,” he said, “that Germany is sending Jews to a nice vacation spa, or to pretty villages with geraniums in the windows? That’s what they told us at first, though in Holland we never believed it.”
We now have a book by Clyde Robert Bulla, The Ring and the Fire, about the opera cycle, The Ring of the Nibelung, by Richard Wagner. It's based on Norse and German mythology and is referenced many times in The Borrowed House.
Ranked #4 in the Top 10 Historical Fiction Books about WWII by Living Books Library!
The story of a teen-aged German girl, raised in the Hitler Youth, who learns that the propaganda she has been fed is not true—and how Van Stockum relates her awakening to Truth is fantastic. I checked out of life and read this book in one sitting!
Whisked away from the Black Forest to occupied Holland, a gung ho Hitler Youth undergoes a blitzkreig conversion.
—School Library Journal
…a suspense story of secret rooms, lost paintings and hidden passages. This is an upbeat look at the Dutch Resistance, and the heroine’s beginnings as an avid Hitler Youth make less difference than you’d think. —Kirkus