54 ers
16 ees


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Damals war es Friedrich

Damals war es Friedrich - Hans Peter Richter I took four years of German classes in high school. German I was a small class, only ten or so people. For German II and III I was the only one that continued, so I had A PRIVATE TUTOR essentially for two years.As a result, we probably did a lot of things most kids wouldn't get away with in class (by "we" I mean "I," of course) - like listening to OpIvy during finals (cos my teacher was bored and since I'd listened to music while I was studying IT ONLY MADE SENSE to listen to it during the test, right?) and sharing snacks and stuff. This girl A. had an office assistant period and was always SO MAD when she came in to deliver the announcements cos I was always listening to music or eating and SHE COULDN'T. What was I talking about?Right. Damals war es Friedrich. Which I guess is just called Friedrich in the English translation, but I haven't read that so I can't talk about it.This book.This book is fucking sad. I know I just talked recently about how books and movies didn't really make me cry until after my oldest was born, but I have to amend that statement. Because this book made me cry ALL THE TEARS.I have a difficult time reading Holocaust stories in general, but this one especially is hard to read.Damals war es Friedrich is told from the point of view of our narrator, but the story is all about his Jewish friend and neighbour, the titular Friedrich. It begins in the mid '20s and follows both families for several years.Both boys (our narrator and Friedrich) have no idea what it means to be a member of the Jungvolk, they just know that it's exciting to be part of such a group.Friedrich's father loses his job, because Jews don't deserve to work. Friedrich is sent to a Jews-only school, and kicked out of both the kino and the swimming pool. Friedrich's school is trashed by the aforementioned Jungvolk and they head to Friedrich's house, where his mother becomes their next victim. It's horrifying and compelling at the same time, and I remember sobbing my eyes out.This is not an easy read, thematically, but it is definitely worthwhile....and now I really want Kartoffelpuffern.