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Eleanor's Story
Cover of Eleanor's Story
Eleanor's Story
An American Girl in Hitler's Germany
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The engrossing coming-of-age autobiography of a young American caught in Nazi Germany during World War II."A must-have memoir about an aspect of wartime survival not often written about in children's...
The engrossing coming-of-age autobiography of a young American caught in Nazi Germany during World War II."A must-have memoir about an aspect of wartime survival not often written about in children's...
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  • The engrossing coming-of-age autobiography of a young American caught in Nazi Germany during World War II.

    "A must-have memoir about an aspect of wartime survival not often written about in children's literature." ―Booklist

    During the Great Depression, when Eleanor is nine, her family moves from her beloved America to Germany, from which her parents had emigrated years before and where her father has been offered a job he cannot pass up. But when war suddenly breaks out as her family is crossing the Atlantic, they realize returning to the United States isn't an option. They arrive in Berlin as enemy aliens.

    Eleanor tries to maintain her American identity as she feels herself pulled into the turbulent life roiling around her. She and her brother are enrolled in German schools and in Hitler's Youth (a requirement). She fervently hopes for an Allied victory, yet for years she must try to survive the Allied bombs shattering her neighborhood. Her family faces separations, bombings, hunger, the final fierce battle for Berlin, the Russian invasion, and the terrors of Soviet occupancy.

    This compelling story is heart-racing at times and immerses readers in a first-hand account of Nazi Germany, surviving World War II as a civilian, and immigration.

    Discussion Guide available.

About the Author-

  • Eleanor Ramrath Garner attended Boston University, and pursued a career as a permissions editor for textbook publishers for many years. In addition to being a published non-fiction writer, Garner is an exhibited artist. She lives in California.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2000
    Gr 6-8-When the author was nine, her parents elected to return to their native Germany, where her father had been offered an attractive job. Though it was 1939 and Hitler had already invaded Czechoslovakia, her family saw only opportunity in their decision. While they were crossing the Atlantic, war was declared and their emigration became irrevocable. Garner was not to see America again until she was 16. The family members spent much of the war in Berlin and suffered hardships and privations and lived in fear. Yet, it is to Garner's credit that she does not make them out to be more heroic than they were. They escaped bombs, bullets, conscription, malnutrition, and molestation. Every member of her immediate family survived the war. This required considerable resourcefulness, occasional bravery, and an extraordinary amount of luck. It is curious that when the author was 13, she stumbled upon the concentration camp at Waldenburg, but didn't mention it to her mother. She says that she wondered, "What is this place?-A prison camp? Who are these people? Are they the ones who work in the factory?" Even as an adult writing this memoir, she doesn't confront the truth that this was a concentration camp. The writing is pedestrian and somewhat dry and the characters are memorable only for their ordinariness and pettiness. Still, this is a unique survival story that libraries may want to own.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY

    Copyright 2000 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from October 1, 1999
    Gr. 7^-12. One of Garner's haunting childhood memories is the sound of knocking coming from the rubble of newly bombed buildings in Berlin, where she and her family spent the war years. She feared the sound was from doomed victims signaling for help, which could not get to them in time. In this stunning memoir, Garner tells the survival story of civilians in Hitler's Germany, desperately hoping to avoid the wrath of the Gestapo during the war, then facing the cruelty of the postwar Russian occupation. On the eve of World War II, Garner's German-born parents went against the advice of family members and emigrated from New Jersey to Berlin with their two school-age children to enable Mr. Ramrath to take a tantalizing, two-year job offer. Readers follow Eleanor's difficult adjustment to German classrooms, her close and supportive relationship with her slightly older brother, Frank, and her loving but often strained relationship with her parents. As the political scene worsens, the family is plunged into horror, and two years stretches to seven. Not being supporters of Hitler or the Nazi Party, the Ramraths and non-Jewish citizens like them had to be constantly on guard against suspicions of disloyalty. They are dimly aware of the larger Holocaust unfolding around them. This powerful coming-of-age tale is told with intensity and also the freshness of teenage years remembered: there are repeated brutal bombings and countless brushes with death; there are also friends, holiday celebrations, and two babies born to the family during the war, who engage Eleanor's love and protection. There's also a much anticipated return to the U.S. It all coalesces into a must-have memoir about an aspect of wartime survival not often written about in children's literature. ((Reviewed October 1, 1999))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1999, American Library Association.)

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    Peachtree Publishing Company
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Eleanor's Story
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An American Girl in Hitler's Germany
Eleanor Ramrath Garner
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