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The Jewish children of Germany are frightened, and their parents are too. Hitler’s men have just broken their store windows, stolen and destroyed their belongings, and arrested many Jewish fathers and brothers. When England arranges to take the children out of Germany by train, the Kindertransport is organized. The train filled with Jewish children escaping the Nazis chugs The Jewish children of Germany are frightened, and their parents are too. Hitler’s men have just broken their store windows, stolen and destroyed their belongings, and arrested many Jewish fathers and brothers. When England arranges to take the children out of Germany by train, the Kindertransport is organized. The train filled with Jewish children escaping the Nazis chugs over the border into Holland, where they are ferried across the English Channel to England and to freedom. But for Peter, the shy violin player, his sister Becca, and his friends Stephen and Hans, life in England holds challenges as well. Peter’s friend Eva, who did not get a seat on the Kindertransport, is left to the evil plans of Hitler. Peter, working his musician’s hands raw at a farm in Coventry, wonders if they should have stayed and fought back instead of escaping. That night the Coventry farm is bombed. The Nazis have reached England. Peter has nothing left. He decides it’s time to stand and fight Hitler. Peter returns to Germany to join the Jewish underground resistance, search for the mother and sister he left behind in Berlin, and rescue his childhood friend Eva.


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The Jewish children of Germany are frightened, and their parents are too. Hitler’s men have just broken their store windows, stolen and destroyed their belongings, and arrested many Jewish fathers and brothers. When England arranges to take the children out of Germany by train, the Kindertransport is organized. The train filled with Jewish children escaping the Nazis chugs The Jewish children of Germany are frightened, and their parents are too. Hitler’s men have just broken their store windows, stolen and destroyed their belongings, and arrested many Jewish fathers and brothers. When England arranges to take the children out of Germany by train, the Kindertransport is organized. The train filled with Jewish children escaping the Nazis chugs over the border into Holland, where they are ferried across the English Channel to England and to freedom. But for Peter, the shy violin player, his sister Becca, and his friends Stephen and Hans, life in England holds challenges as well. Peter’s friend Eva, who did not get a seat on the Kindertransport, is left to the evil plans of Hitler. Peter, working his musician’s hands raw at a farm in Coventry, wonders if they should have stayed and fought back instead of escaping. That night the Coventry farm is bombed. The Nazis have reached England. Peter has nothing left. He decides it’s time to stand and fight Hitler. Peter returns to Germany to join the Jewish underground resistance, search for the mother and sister he left behind in Berlin, and rescue his childhood friend Eva.

30 review for The Children's Train: Escape on the Kindertransport

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    The writing is simplistic at first , but the story is not. It's horrifying and moving and enlightening and as heartbreaking and as gut wrenching as anything I've read about the holocaust ; yet it is hopeful . The horrors and the fears faced by the Jewish children in this novel were faced by the one and a half million children who were killed by the Nazis but the children in this story represent some of the 10,000 who were saved by the British on the Kindertransport , the train taking them from G The writing is simplistic at first , but the story is not. It's horrifying and moving and enlightening and as heartbreaking and as gut wrenching as anything I've read about the holocaust ; yet it is hopeful . The horrors and the fears faced by the Jewish children in this novel were faced by the one and a half million children who were killed by the Nazis but the children in this story represent some of the 10,000 who were saved by the British on the Kindertransport , the train taking them from Germany to England to save them from the Nazis . Heartbreaking does not adequately describe seeing these young children attempt to understand what is happening to Jews and why. How do you explain why their father's shop is destroyed or why he is taken away or why their home is ransacked in the middle of the night ? How do you explain why they are expelled from their school because they are Jews ? How do you explain why they must leave their home, their mother and fathers and get on a train to England? This is the story of 11 year old Peter who loves his violin and his music and his younger sister Becca . It's about Peter's friend Eva who gets left behind. It's the story of their friends Hans and Stephen and the orphan boy Noah . Jana Zinser tells us that these children are fictional but we know they represent real lives . Their stories along with those of other characters are told simultaneously as the author moves among them simply by new paragraphs at times within the chapters . We move from England and back to Germany to Stephen's family hiding in the attic and Eva and her family in Bockenburg camp. Some of them children are safe from Hitler and alive but their lives are far from the happy ones they lived before. It seemed so chaotic at times but then you realize how it must have been that way . For the next seven years we follow this circle of friends and their families , from Berlin to England to the camps back in Germany to Poland and back to Berlin . Their paths sometimes cross , some die, some live , all of them more courageous than can be described even though it is Peter and Noah who join the Resistance. I got more and more taken by these characters and the urge to know the fate of each and every one of them . When I read about children of the holocaust, I am , of course reminded of Anne Frank and The Diary of a Young Girl and I think about Hana's Suitcase: A True Story. When I read about brave and good people trying to save their fellow human beings , I reminded of My Mother's Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story. I am always reminded of The Street Sweeper because all of these books say to us "Don't let them forget." Zinser has done a beautiful job of doing just that . I highly recommend this book . Thanks to BQB Publishing and NetGalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    "The world has gone mad"! "They're robbing our soul, and the world has turned out its light and gone to sleep". From bleakness emerges a story about a pivotal period in history. It's a rich portrayal about Kindertransport children who were transported out of Germany to London when the massive attack on Jews changed 'everything'. Six Hundred thousand Jewish Children were in need of being rescued. Fluid storytelling and well-drawn characters make this novel compulsively readable. It's appropriate "The world has gone mad"! "They're robbing our soul, and the world has turned out its light and gone to sleep". From bleakness emerges a story about a pivotal period in history. It's a rich portrayal about Kindertransport children who were transported out of Germany to London when the massive attack on Jews changed 'everything'. Six Hundred thousand Jewish Children were in need of being rescued. Fluid storytelling and well-drawn characters make this novel compulsively readable. It's appropriate reading for as young as middle school children to read to adults. Jana Zinser educates the less knowledgeable reader about the holocaust, with dignity and sensitivity. The factual details mixed with a cast of breathtaking vivid characterless so persuasive and interesting...( troubling ), that even the more advance - adult reader- will have a hell of a hard time pulling away. I 'had' to read this in one sitting. ( tears a 'few' times). This was one of those books--where I did not touch my phone once- did not touch the internet once-didn't give a damn about the dirty dishes in the sink- laundry that needed to be done - or any hunger. Yes, THE WORLD HAD GONE MAD. Under the Nazi regime, Jews were kicked out of their homes, their businesses destroyed, Synagogues burned down, the burning of Jewish prayer books, Torahs, holy scrolls, Retailers had signs in their windows: "DO NOT SELL ANYTHING TO JEWS", schools were cancelled for Jewish Children, Jews beaten, arrested, and killed. The devastation and mayhem crushed spirits leaving people afraid to hope - unspeakable horrific pain. Children wrapped their arms around their parents as tightly as they could, petrified of separation. Yet.. even though the children didn't understand why they were being put on trains with complete strangers - sent to another country -separated from their parents....it was the best chance of them surviving. You'll find a couple of 'in-house' troubling stories - besides the bigger world crisis. ( sadness and confusion.... Psychologically complex family choices) The storytelling is intimate: Standout characters: The Weinberg family: Henry, Sylvia, Peter, Becca, and baby Lilly. Peter, might be consider the 'main character...but 'all' are memorable. *Peter and Becca, brother & sister, get separated from each other once they arrive in London. Peter is sent to live with a family in Dovercourt working on a farmhouse. Becca is sent to London to live in luxury. Each child will face a new set of challenges. If a child is too young or too old...they need to stay back - and not be allowed out of Germany at all. "Baby Lilly wasn't going on the train because his mother said she wasn't old enough. But Peter thought it was because his mother couldn't live without someone to love." More Standout characters: The Rosenberg family: Bert, Helga, Eve, and William. Eve & William are brother and sister... ( William older).... The story of what happens to this family is something I think every reader will think about long after this story ends. Charlie, a child who had a seat on the train, was pulled off at last minute, because his parents couldn't stand to part with their child. Priscilla, a supporting character, a young girl in a wheel chair, lives in London. The author allows us to look closer at Priscilla's character and why her condition lingers in our thoughts. Marla: a pivotal strength in helping the younger children. **Peter is born with music in his soul. A Violin Player. With no family - in a country that isn't his own- its music that comforts against loneliness. His music becomes his gift of gratitude to the world. Saved and thankful. To hope, and healing! Thank You BQB Publishing, Netgalley, and Jana Zinser ( a wonderful storyteller)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    I am often on the fence about whether I want to read another novel set during WWII. Good novels that depict this horrific part of history can be so painful, and bad novels are such an insult to the suffering of all people who died or survived during WWII. So I read novels set in that period, but I try to choose them carefully. I read The Children's Train based on Angela's great review and I'm glad I did. It's based on the real historical Kindertransport -- the courageous and forward thinking tra I am often on the fence about whether I want to read another novel set during WWII. Good novels that depict this horrific part of history can be so painful, and bad novels are such an insult to the suffering of all people who died or survived during WWII. So I read novels set in that period, but I try to choose them carefully. I read The Children's Train based on Angela's great review and I'm glad I did. It's based on the real historical Kindertransport -- the courageous and forward thinking transportation of several thousand Jewish children out of Germany to England before the war. It tells the story of an interrelated set of characters, some who were able to leave Germany and some who weren't. The story is mostly told from the perspective of the children. It is horrific and moving. It brings to life the horrendous decision parents had to make about whether to send their children away. With 20/20 hindsight, it's obvious that it was the right the decision. But at the time when Jews faced brutality but didn't know where things were going, I can't imagine making the decision these parents had to make. That part of the book is heart wrenching. The book is also about what happens after the children are moved to England, moving back and forth between the families left behind and the relocated children. To me, the story became a bit unrealistic in the last quarter when one of the main characters becomes very actively involved in the Resistance. And there are a few improbable coincidences. But this is a minor complaint. This is a very moving novel, highlighting real and important events during WWII. It strikes me that it's a book that would work for my 14 year old daughter, as a way to understand the horror of the war and the courage of people who survived and who helped others survive. It contains enough information about the brutality perpetrated by the Nazis to be real, but it leaves enough unsaid to be appropriate for a younger audience. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an opportunity to read The Children's Train.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Jane

    Before starting this review I would like to make mention of the author Jana Zinser's dedication. In part it says ... The Nazis killed six million Jews. One-and-a-half million of those Jews were children. Peter and Becca represent two of the more than ten thousand children who safely escaped to England on the Kindertransport. Most of the Kindertransport children never saw their parents again. I personally want to say. I believe we must never forget these atrocities, these were mothers, father, brot Before starting this review I would like to make mention of the author Jana Zinser's dedication. In part it says ... The Nazis killed six million Jews. One-and-a-half million of those Jews were children. Peter and Becca represent two of the more than ten thousand children who safely escaped to England on the Kindertransport. Most of the Kindertransport children never saw their parents again. I personally want to say. I believe we must never forget these atrocities, these were mothers, father, brothers, sisters, children, and babies! What was done was to them was pure EVIL! We need to continue to educate generation to generation. The majority of the novel is based around Peter the 11 yr old protagonist and his 6 yr old sister Becca. Peter's father had fought in "The Great War" who had come back a hero and was left with the scars to prove it, shrapnel in his leg. Very early on we are shown the character of this man for example he owns the local butcher and in 1933 he is no longer supposed to slaughter the animals the Jewish way...he shows the strength of his convictions by still doing so. When Peter mentions that Hitler will be angry with him, his father replies that he would rather have Hitler mad with him than God. Peter's mother is also a strong and loving woman who was obviously put Earth to be a mother. To round of this beautiful family there is one year old rosy cheeked Lily. Jana Zinser brilliantly expresses the horror, confusion and fear that not only Peter but the other children in the novel are feeling and thinking when witnessing the atrocities by the Nazis. Peter is trying to comprehend why he is considered less than human and hated, he has never hated anything nor does he really understand the concept of hatred especially the hatred by the Nazis for him being Jewish. He especially finds it difficult since he has been brought up to be proud of his heritage. Peter's confusion continues such as why would Germany no longer want him and his family when his Dad was a war hero who had fought for Germany during the "The Great War", even Hitler fought on the same side as his father. Some of the local Nazi's had fought side by side with his father, once his friends now his enemies. This book is not just about Peter's family, but also Peter and his friends families. They all have the same things in common, they are Jewish, and all go to the same school in Berlin. Zinser's description is heartbreaking when she describes little children as young as 4 being marched out of the school and told they will never return because they are "rats". As the situation becomes even more dire for the Jewish families losing their homes and businesses. The freezing winter begins to close in. The parents are given only one solution that could possibly save their children and that is The Children's Train called Kindertransport. Peter and Becca and some of their schoolfriend's were on one of those trains. The Kindertransport was organised and fully funded by a group of wonderful volunteers and generous financial donators from England who transported as many Jewish children out of Germany as they possibly could before all of the German Borders were closed. As the book continues we learn what happens to Peter's family left behind. We also learn the fate of other families and of some of the children whose parents made the decision not to send their children. This is spread out over a number of years as we watch Peter grow into a young man. When I began this book I thought that I had quite a lot of knowledge about the Holocaust but I was surprised to learn about the Kindertransport children. Although this novel is fiction, the Kindertransport was not and I will never forget about the ones that made it on those trains and also the ones who did not. Thank you NetGalley, the Publisher and Author for giving me the opportunity to read this in turn for a fair and honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Peter and his friends Stephen and Hans had a happy life in Berlin, going to school, playing football and for Peter, playing his beloved violin. But change came in the form of Hitler; the Nazis were cruel and vindictive – adult or child, no one was safe from them if they were Jewish. After being banned from their school, the lives of the friends and their parents deteriorated quickly. Peter’s father owned a butcher shop; he was a proud man who had served in the Great War and achieved medals as we Peter and his friends Stephen and Hans had a happy life in Berlin, going to school, playing football and for Peter, playing his beloved violin. But change came in the form of Hitler; the Nazis were cruel and vindictive – adult or child, no one was safe from them if they were Jewish. After being banned from their school, the lives of the friends and their parents deteriorated quickly. Peter’s father owned a butcher shop; he was a proud man who had served in the Great War and achieved medals as well. But that didn’t mean a thing to Hitler’s thugs… Marla and her supporters in London were determined to help the German Jewish children to escape Hitler. They organized the Kindertransport which would leave Berlin, travelling through Holland to the final leg of the journey which would be a ferry to England’s shores and safety. Peter and his sister Becca, along with Stephen and Hans were on one of the first Kindertransports, but Peter’s best friend Eva missed out as her brother William took her seat. By the time the Germans closed the borders out of the country, 10,000 Jewish children had been saved. But there were still many more who would suffer along with their parents at the hands of the Nazis. As each child was sent to a foster home in London and surrounding areas, the devastation felt by both Peter and Becca was heartbreaking. They had been separated – they had no idea if they would ever see each other again. Along with their parents and baby sister being left in Germany, they no longer had each other for love and support. Peter was taken by a cruel farmer in Coventry who put him to work as his farmhand – he was only eleven years old. Becca had a happier time of it, but missed her family dreadfully. When the Blitz hit London, lives were to change once again. Older by a few years, Peter’s anger had grown – he was determined to do something; it was time to fight back. He was desperate to find his mother and baby sister; also his best friend Eva – he needed to help in the fight against Hitler and the horrific Nazi regime… The Children’s Train by Jana Zinser absolutely blew me away! Heartbreaking, terrifying and traumatic it was also filled with hope and courage, determination and inspiration. Over six million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis and many of them were children. Though The Children’s Train is fiction, the sad and tragic truth stands out and stays with you. I know this book will stay with me! The Children’s Train is an absolute credit to this author and I have no hesitation in recommending it extremely highly. I’d like to thank the Goodreads friend who recommended it to me as well… With thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for my copy to read and review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    I knew nothing about the WW2 Kindertransport and was pleased to be given the chance to read this historical fictional novel. It’s particularly timely now, when we have so many thousands of children fleeing bombs or oppression and/or torture, but with not enough places willing to take them in. England managed to save about 10,000 before Rotterdam was bombed and Holland surrendered. They even had to move the children (with their own) out of London during the Blitz. This is a book that could be read I knew nothing about the WW2 Kindertransport and was pleased to be given the chance to read this historical fictional novel. It’s particularly timely now, when we have so many thousands of children fleeing bombs or oppression and/or torture, but with not enough places willing to take them in. England managed to save about 10,000 before Rotterdam was bombed and Holland surrendered. They even had to move the children (with their own) out of London during the Blitz. This is a book that could be read by school-aged children, if you think they are ready to learn about how badly we are capable of treating each other. It also shows how generous people and nations can be during times of crisis. After Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, November 9-10, 1938, England generously offers to foster Jewish children, bringing them via train -the Kindertransport – to Holland and then via ship. Peter’s parents manage to get him, his little sister and his beloved violin on the train, but the girl he is so fond of, Eva, loses her seat to her vicious older brother, William, and ends up in the camps, while William gets up to no good in England. We follow both Peter’s and Eva’s stories and learn of the increased suffering of their families and friends, but without an overload of graphic detail. The text is simple and direct (excerpt below). The facts alone are horrifying enough, although we get a fair sense of the rot, the filth, the smell of death - and the cold and hunger, of course. Peter and his violin survive a bomb attack, and he decides it’s time to fight back. He’s only 13. “Peter emerged, crawling on his hands and knees from under the stairs. He was covered in dirt and blood, but he was still alive and relatively unharmed. He glanced around, and then looked down at his body, as if stunned to see it was still in one piece. He wiped the blood and debris from his face in long-fingered streaks. “He turned and frantically pulled boards away, pulling up his mattress and revealing his violin. He grabbed the case and carefully wiped its cover with his sleeve. He set the case down and slowly opened it. “The violin was unharmed. He picked it up and held it aloft, like an offering to God, an acknowledgment that this was evidence that confirmed God was watching over him. Then he bent down in prayer with the bow and violin still in his hands. ‘I give my life to you’, he prayed. “What Peter had run from had finally caught up with him. A flash of understanding surged through his mind. A shiver ran through his body, and he knew that running wouldn’t work. Staying and fighting was the only way to survive, and it was time to stand up.” We follow Peter’s scary, teen-aged exploits back in Germany, where he fights with older Resistance fighters, using Molotov cocktails and other home-made bombs. There are some particularly nervous scenes where Peter, disguised as a Nazi soldier, runs into someone who knew him years earlier! I particularly liked the division into chapters by date, e.g., “Boarding the Train (January 1939)”. It makes it real and easy to tie in with other accounts. I was surprised that the German name “Kristallnacht” was never used, as it's the only name I've ever heard for "The Night of Broken Glass", but maybe that's just me. Many thanks to NetGalley and the author for a copy to read and review. I think this could be a very useful addition to school libraries.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Although this story is fiction it is based on a true event in history. Although the story is heartbreaking and painful to read at times I enjoyed the book. I cannot even imagine the things people went through during this 7 year period, Being taken from your family stripped of everything you own and stuck in concentration camps some killed some not killed. These children survived so much hate. This story really makes you think about life and humanity and makes me wonder how we can treat each othe Although this story is fiction it is based on a true event in history. Although the story is heartbreaking and painful to read at times I enjoyed the book. I cannot even imagine the things people went through during this 7 year period, Being taken from your family stripped of everything you own and stuck in concentration camps some killed some not killed. These children survived so much hate. This story really makes you think about life and humanity and makes me wonder how we can treat each other the way we do.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I'm positive that I held my breath for most of this book. I wouldn't be surprised if I'd held my breath for the entire time I'd been reading this. This book was so unlike any other I've ever read. It's gripping, powerful, heartbreaking and intense - so, so, so intense. During the terrible reign of Adolf Hitler, the kindertransport brought Jewish children away from Germany and into England, where they were all scattered into different families or parts of England where it was thought they'd be ke I'm positive that I held my breath for most of this book. I wouldn't be surprised if I'd held my breath for the entire time I'd been reading this. This book was so unlike any other I've ever read. It's gripping, powerful, heartbreaking and intense - so, so, so intense. During the terrible reign of Adolf Hitler, the kindertransport brought Jewish children away from Germany and into England, where they were all scattered into different families or parts of England where it was thought they'd be kept safe from Hitler's reach. The stories of each individual character in the book were horrifying; especially knowing that it was all based on real facts. I know I cried through about half of the book - all the way to the end, and when Hitler finally got what he deserved and Peter ran off to get his sister, my tears were pretty unbearable. I honestly have no words right now; this book was amazing and thrilling, and so sad.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    The Children’s Train by Jana Zinser is a heart wrenching historical novel focusing on the years 1938-1945 in Germany. It is written from the point of view of the Jewish people. The novel zooms in on a small group of individuals. They are a microcosm for what affected millions and not just in Germany. We follow the plight of several families from their homes and lives where liberties are eroded to the kindertransport to the ghetto to the gas chambers. The reader witnesses the full horror of what The Children’s Train by Jana Zinser is a heart wrenching historical novel focusing on the years 1938-1945 in Germany. It is written from the point of view of the Jewish people. The novel zooms in on a small group of individuals. They are a microcosm for what affected millions and not just in Germany. We follow the plight of several families from their homes and lives where liberties are eroded to the kindertransport to the ghetto to the gas chambers. The reader witnesses the full horror of what life was like when you were Jewish in Nazi Germany. There is both bravery and desperation of parents relinquishing their children on a train to a better life in England. The reader ‘travels’ to England and also remains behind in Germany. As lives are extinguished so hope is extinguished too. It feels like the world has abandoned the Jewish people to their fate. “They’re robbing our souls, and the world has turned out its light and gone to sleep.” It even feels like God has left them. “Do you think God can still hear me?” There are some very difficult to read scenes of horror, as well as scenes of great bravery and of hope. Some possess a fighting spirit, for others it is just too much. A particularly moving scene for me involved Eddie and Otto towards the end of the war. I shall say no more but let you read it yourselves. The literary device of pathetic fallacy was used as the weather mirrored the mood. “Lightning flashed and thunder shook as the train travelled across Germany.” The Children’s Train was simply written but this simplicity seemed to magnify the horrors. We must never forget the evil done to the innocents – the six million who perished and the others who survived.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    It has been estimated that from 1938 to 1940, the Kindertransport spared the lives of 10,000 children from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Most of those children, from infant to age 17, were the only members of their families to survive the brutality of World War II. Parents desperate to protect their children, handed them over to strangers to be boarded on trains that would take them to safety. cover69421-mediumThis is the beginning premise of Jana Zinser's fictional, The Childre It has been estimated that from 1938 to 1940, the Kindertransport spared the lives of 10,000 children from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis. Most of those children, from infant to age 17, were the only members of their families to survive the brutality of World War II. Parents desperate to protect their children, handed them over to strangers to be boarded on trains that would take them to safety. cover69421-mediumThis is the beginning premise of Jana Zinser's fictional, The Children's Train, A Novel to be released by BQB Publishing on October 26, 2015. Zinser has written a heart-wrenching, epic story that follows lives of several children that survived (as well as the fates of their families); from the beginning occupation through the end of the war. Zinser takes readers from escape of occupied territories, into hiding, to safety, the concentration camps; and then back undercover behind enemy lines. Here's the description from the publisher: In November 1938 on The Night of the Broken Glass, the Jewish people of Germany are terrified as Hitler's men shatter their store windows, steal and destroy their belongings, and arrest many Jewish fathers and brothers. Parents fear for their own lives but their focus is on protecting their children. When England arranges to take the children out of Germany by train, the Kindertransport is organized and parents scramble to get places on the trains for their young family members, worried about what the future will hold. Soon, trains filled with Jewish children escaping the Nazis chug over the border into Holland, where they are ferried across the English Channel to England and to freedom. But for Peter, the shy violin player, his sister Becca, and his friends Stephen and Hans, life in England holds challenges as well. Peter’s friend Eva, who did not get a seat on the Kindertransport, is left to the evil plans of Hitler. Peter, working his musician’s hands raw at a farm in Coventry, wonders if they should have stayed and fought back instead of escaping. When the Coventry farm is bombed and Nazis have reached England, Peter feels he has nothing left. He decides it’s time to stand and fight Hitler. Peter returns to Germany to join the Jewish underground resistance, search for the mother and sister he left behind in Berlin, and rescue his childhood friend Eva. It's a story of fear, torture, loss, hope, freedom, survival and most important of all-- it's a story of heroism of epic proportions. A freight car like those used to transport 80-100 prisoners to the concentration camps. A freight car like those used to transport 80-100 prisoners, per car, to the concentration camps. (At Museum Stutthof.) As someone that has had an ongoing interest in Holocaust studies and education, what I really like about The Children's Train is that this novel gives the reader an in depth look; both in varying viewpoints and through a broad scope of experiences, making it a perfect introductory-look into the history of the Holocaust. It is thoroughly engaging from start to finish. After reading, you not only have a better picture of the many devastating situations endured by Holocaust victims and survivors; you also have a clearer understanding of Nazi and German (not mutually inclusive) people's positions and actions. Yes, some believed in Hitler's plan of hate. Others acted based on financial reasoning and many more out of fear. The subject matter may be a little heavy for young readers but I'd certainly recommend it for high school through adults. Zinser tells the story simply, without over-dramatizing or trying to be graphically-shocking. By the very nature of the events, even through the author's delicate handling, it might be too overwhelming for younger children. The young lives of Peter, Eva and all the others will tug at your heart and inspire you. You'll discover hope in humanity though quiet, unassuming acts of courage and heroism; and mourn the lives of those that were lost. Though 10,000 children may have been spared by the Kindertransport; 6 million Jews lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis -- many of them children. This is their unforgettable story. I received an ARC from NetGalley.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Peggy Geiger

    Genre: Historical Fiction>WW II era Excerpt from the book: "Peter Weinberg, with the gray, piercing eyes, was eleven when he had to face the truth that the world was filled with evil, and there was nothing he could do about it. The Nazi monster, Adolph Hitler, had risen to power in Germany, and he didn't like Jews, not even the small ones." The Nazi regime began closing in on the Jewish world slowly at first. They were no longer allowed in the parks, then they were banned from the swimming pools. T Genre: Historical Fiction>WW II era Excerpt from the book: "Peter Weinberg, with the gray, piercing eyes, was eleven when he had to face the truth that the world was filled with evil, and there was nothing he could do about it. The Nazi monster, Adolph Hitler, had risen to power in Germany, and he didn't like Jews, not even the small ones." The Nazi regime began closing in on the Jewish world slowly at first. They were no longer allowed in the parks, then they were banned from the swimming pools. Their safe, secure world began to turn upside down. Signs in retail stores said, "Do Not Sell Anything to Jews". By measured, deliberate increments, the violence and exclusion continued. Peter's father was a WW I decorated hero. He had fought alongside Hitler and his Nazi thugs as patriots, brothers in arms, only a few years before. Peter cannot understand why he is now considered less than human and hated, just for being Jewish. The confusion over the concept of hatred turns to dread. Synagogues and books are burned. Leaving Germany now requires permission, paperwork and money. Any control over their lives begins to slip away along with all human rights. Children are called "rats" as they are rudely escorted out of school and told not to come back. The Night of the Broken Glass destroys shops, businesses and the means of making a living. The targeting escalates. Homes are destroyed or commandeered by non-Jewish Germans. Being Jewish is now approximates a death sentence. Devastation morphs into unspeakable, unrelenting horror. Jews are beaten, arrested and killed. Or they just disappear in the night. Unknown to the Jewish population, it has only just begun. I have read many stories about WW II, however, I had never heard of The Children's Train or Kindertransport. After The Night of Broken Glass, England organized a a program offering safe haven to Jewish children up to the age of 17. The children traveled by train to Holland and were then ferried to England. Ten thousand children were saved. Kindertransport continued until Holland was invaded and Germany closed its border. This is a story of the parental heartbreak of sending terrified children away to save them and also the story of the children who did not get a seat on a train. The concentration camps received the children who missed the train. Peter was eleven, his sister Becca was six, when they arrived in England. Their father was dead by this time and their mother could not bear to part with baby Lily. She kept Lily with her in Germany. All was not good for the children who survived the Nazi reign of terror. After arriving in England, Peter and Becca were separated. Peter was selected by a cruel farmer and his wife as a free farmhand. He was worked to the point of exhaustion daily. Becca was selected by a family that treated her well. Most of the rescued children never saw their parents again and were subjected to the numerous Blitz bombings in England. The story follows Peter as he eventually joins the Jewish resistance to wreak havoc with the Nazi war effort. I highly recommend this novel, it should be required reading for middle and high school students so this history can never be repeated. ARC courtesy of the author and publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paul Franco

    My first time in Amsterdam, I tried to go to the Anne Frank museum. No one stopped me, I just couldn’t do it; it was just too heavy, too much. A lot of this book had me feeling the same way, simply difficult to get through, though there were a lot more humorous moments than I expected, ending with the protagonist getting the nickname “Violin Commando!” The reason I did get through this book was because it was about the Kindertransport, which was a British program to get Jewish kids out of Nazi G My first time in Amsterdam, I tried to go to the Anne Frank museum. No one stopped me, I just couldn’t do it; it was just too heavy, too much. A lot of this book had me feeling the same way, simply difficult to get through, though there were a lot more humorous moments than I expected, ending with the protagonist getting the nickname “Violin Commando!” The reason I did get through this book was because it was about the Kindertransport, which was a British program to get Jewish kids out of Nazi Germany. In college I wrote a paper about the different ways people escaped, including this, and I went to a play about it a couple of years ago. But surprisingly there isn’t all that much about it here, and a lot of this story takes place back in Germany and Poland after the kids have moved on to England. In addition to that, life for the kids in Britain isn’t all that great either, though of course not nearly as bad as if they hadn’t left. One more personal note: there’s a throwaway line where a character says, “Sometimes I wish the Jews weren’t always the ones chosen to suffer.” Back in college a poly-sci prof told a story about an Israeli student who started an oral report with, “The Jews are God’s chosen people. . .” and there was a pause while the professor hid, then the guy added, “chosen to suffer.” About halfway through I looked at the author’s website, where besides her impressive credentials I saw that this book is geared toward kids, or at least teens, which changed my perspective on the writing; I found myself more forgiving after that. The only problem I had with the plotting was the occurrence of too many coincidences, especially Peter when he infiltrates Germany and Poland and runs into so many people he knew before he left. In a book that makes you check your emotions at the door if you have any hope of reading through it, this is the most heartbreaking passage: knowing they’re about to die, a child tells his mother, “I’m glad I didn’t go on that train. Then you would have died alone.”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Stansel

    "Where there is life, there is hope." This is the theme that permeates this novel based on the historic events of the Kindertransport which helped Jewish children flee German (and other European countries) for England. .Although this is a novel and the individuals are not real, the author was able to paint a picture of these times and places in a way that made them come alive in a heart-wrenching way. The story jumps between the viewpoints of several of the children and the families they left beh "Where there is life, there is hope." This is the theme that permeates this novel based on the historic events of the Kindertransport which helped Jewish children flee German (and other European countries) for England. .Although this is a novel and the individuals are not real, the author was able to paint a picture of these times and places in a way that made them come alive in a heart-wrenching way. The story jumps between the viewpoints of several of the children and the families they left behind as well as the lives of children unable to escape, showing the wide variations in lives led based on what boils down to the luck of the draw. This would be a good novel for late elementary to maybe early high school as a companion to talking about WWII and the Holocaust. A picture and story from Humans of New York a few years back really stuck with me and came to mind several times during the story. The woman said: "I lived in Poland, so we were persecuted from the first day of the war. First they took us from our home, then they put us in a ghetto, then they made us march, then they sent us to the camps. I was separated from everyone, but my brother later told me that my father froze to death. But I have children now, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren-- a great big family, all of them educated. Look at everything that came from just one person who escaped. Just goes to show that you can never kill a people with hate. There will always be someone left to carry on." https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewy... Full disclosure - I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    MaryAnn

    This is definitely a book that I'd recommend for older elementary school kids, maybe 5th or 6th grade and up. Our daughters visited concentration camps while on a field trip with their school while in Germany and I wish everyone had a chance to do so. No one would doubt the Holocaust if they experienced such a trip. That said, this book showed a side of the war that not everyone has heard of, that of the Kindertransport that took some of the Jewish children to safety in England. The book starts o This is definitely a book that I'd recommend for older elementary school kids, maybe 5th or 6th grade and up. Our daughters visited concentration camps while on a field trip with their school while in Germany and I wish everyone had a chance to do so. No one would doubt the Holocaust if they experienced such a trip. That said, this book showed a side of the war that not everyone has heard of, that of the Kindertransport that took some of the Jewish children to safety in England. The book starts out with some of the milder interactions between some of the Nazis and the Jewish people, but those interactions quickly escalate and get very ugly, very quickly, most likely this happened similarly in real life. The book can be hard to read, especially for people that just can't understand how people could be so cruel to other human beings. I think it's something important for people to remember though, especially children today, because I think the history of Hitler and the Third Reich isn't taught as much as it should be. I'd definitely recommend this. Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It was read with the expectation of an honest review and in no way did that affect the way I reviewed this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    5 stars! Unfortunately, there was a true part to this story and a reason why this book could be written with this background. A sad, tragic background. I found this book to be very interesting and actually very intense. I found myself holding my breath through quite a lot of it. It seemed as though someone was always close to danger. I think the writer did a great job with the story and while it is a tragic one, I found it to be very entertaining and I did not want to put the book down. I was defi 5 stars! Unfortunately, there was a true part to this story and a reason why this book could be written with this background. A sad, tragic background. I found this book to be very interesting and actually very intense. I found myself holding my breath through quite a lot of it. It seemed as though someone was always close to danger. I think the writer did a great job with the story and while it is a tragic one, I found it to be very entertaining and I did not want to put the book down. I was definitely cheering for the these children. I was also thinking how hard it would be to just hand off my child to a stranger in order to assure they would live. That would have to be one of the hardest things to do. Letting that little baby go would have killed me. And then living with the consequences of that father who pulled his son off. And that horrible mother who let her arrogant criminal son go instead of her young innocent daughter? That was the worst tragedy. I can't believe the daughter still loved her mother and cared for her. But then one could go on and on discussing the pros and cons of why a parent should have or should not have done what they did. That parent has to live with what they did. And, it is only just a story. But I'm sure some of those things did happen. I liked seeing the children's version of what was going on around them. I've read several books regarding WWII, but this is the first one from the the children's point of view and I definitely enjoyed reading it. It was insightful, poignant and really worth reading. I highly recommend doing so. Thanks to BQB Publishing and Net Galley for the free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fiona Mccormick

    I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It tells of the Kindertransport, evacuation to safety of Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Great Britain before the outset of the Second World War. The main character is Peter, an 11 year old talented violin player who is separated from his family when evacuated to England. As he grows up, he becomes an underground resistance fighter and on occasion, uses his violin to help 'free the Jewish people' as he had been I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It tells of the Kindertransport, evacuation to safety of Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Great Britain before the outset of the Second World War. The main character is Peter, an 11 year old talented violin player who is separated from his family when evacuated to England. As he grows up, he becomes an underground resistance fighter and on occasion, uses his violin to help 'free the Jewish people' as he had been predicted to do. We follow his life and those of his friends and family from the beginning of the persecution of the Jews in Germany through till the end of the war. The book is heartrending and at times difficult to read due to the subject matter, but I believe this type of book must be written and read to keep the memories of the evil that happened during the Holocaust alive, and to help prevent it ever happening again. It is a work of fiction but the situations depicted are ones that happened again and again to real life families all over Europe before and during the war. It is very well written, realistic and sometimes quite stark, never flinching from the truth of the situation. I would definitely recommend this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jes Singer

    2.5 starts, rounding up because it is a fast easy read and I did learn a little about the Kindertransport. To me this book covered too many topics and characters without enough depth into any of them. The characters were hard to remember/distinguish, as they generally had the same voice and we didn't know much about any of them - so the shifting between so many storylines was difficult to follow. I wished the author had focused more on the Kindertransport and its background, but the focus was mo 2.5 starts, rounding up because it is a fast easy read and I did learn a little about the Kindertransport. To me this book covered too many topics and characters without enough depth into any of them. The characters were hard to remember/distinguish, as they generally had the same voice and we didn't know much about any of them - so the shifting between so many storylines was difficult to follow. I wished the author had focused more on the Kindertransport and its background, but the focus was more on the experience of one character, Peter, who ultimately joined the resistance. While heartwarming and hopeful, much of that story line seemed contrived and unbelievable without more detail (a 15 year old dressed in a random Nazi uniform can cross easily back into Germany and steal important files from Nazi offices without question? Unlikely). I think this must be geared toward a younger audience. Still, the story is fast moving and interesting, if lacking in depth, and made me think hard about the heroic and tragic decision of so many parents to put their children on train to England to save their lives, likely never to see them again. WWII historical fiction is a favorite genre of mine so I have fairly high expectations and this was just OK.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    The book started out fairly well, became fanciful, and then deteriorated into the ridiculous. Most annoying was the constant coincidences that were just too much. It did grab at me, at times, when the story detailed some of the cruelty, and the story of the children, on the trains, was emotional but, unfortunately, the rest didn't hold up. I just do not believe that the author had much real knowledge of WWII, making some silly mistakes or assumptions (view spoiler)[ e.g. apparently one could dres The book started out fairly well, became fanciful, and then deteriorated into the ridiculous. Most annoying was the constant coincidences that were just too much. It did grab at me, at times, when the story detailed some of the cruelty, and the story of the children, on the trains, was emotional but, unfortunately, the rest didn't hold up. I just do not believe that the author had much real knowledge of WWII, making some silly mistakes or assumptions (view spoiler)[ e.g. apparently one could dress "as a Nazi" and be accepted wherever they went, as if there was some magic generic uniform that was acceptable everywhere. Policemen ran concentration camps? I don't think so. Being able to just seemingly walk into occupied Poland with no problems? Returning, at will, to England? And the rescue of Peter's two friends, in Berlin, was so over the top it was laughable. (hide spoiler)] . Sorry, this didn't have the authenticity that it needed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Ward

    I was very grateful to be able to download and read this book for free by Netgalley. I realise that this book is a work of fiction but the 'kindertransport', organised to rescue children from Nazi Germany was real. Jana Zinser brings us such realistic characters that it is easy to see them as true victims. There are times that the book makes difficult reading, mainly because it is beyond our comprehension that these events took place but there is also a positive feel, as we are reminded of the w I was very grateful to be able to download and read this book for free by Netgalley. I realise that this book is a work of fiction but the 'kindertransport', organised to rescue children from Nazi Germany was real. Jana Zinser brings us such realistic characters that it is easy to see them as true victims. There are times that the book makes difficult reading, mainly because it is beyond our comprehension that these events took place but there is also a positive feel, as we are reminded of the wonderful people who organised and funded the 'kindertransport'. A great historical fiction novel.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Franny Burd

    *Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. A well-written and sensitive account of the trains that attempted to take the Jewish children to safety during WWII. Are there sections that are ugly and disturbing? Yes, because you can't write an accurate story of Nazi atrocities without it being ugly and disturbing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

    I had heard about The Children's Train before and was glad to have the opportunity to read this novel. Knowing this is based on real events in our history made it more compelling. I can hardly believe that people could treat other people with such disdain and such terrible treatment and torture. I know the story was to celebrate all those children who were ultimately saved by being taken from their families to new homes in England, but yet there was so much of the story telling about those left I had heard about The Children's Train before and was glad to have the opportunity to read this novel. Knowing this is based on real events in our history made it more compelling. I can hardly believe that people could treat other people with such disdain and such terrible treatment and torture. I know the story was to celebrate all those children who were ultimately saved by being taken from their families to new homes in England, but yet there was so much of the story telling about those left behind. Heart wrenching, appalling and so very sad. It is written in a very simple style which makes it a quick read. Or maybe it was a quick read for me because I was so caught up in it! The contrast between the life in England that some of the children had next to the treatment of their families back in Germany really painted a black and white picture. I know the atrocities were the same for the Jewish people and I have read other books from this horrible time in history that told of similar treatment. But there were a couple of events that sounded just like The Storyteller by Jodie Picoult. I couldn’t help but wonder if Picoult had read this book before writing her own?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nina Norstrom

    In a tale of historical fiction with fictional characters, history buffs this one will spark your interest. Its storybook depicts pieces of history. It may bring to mind the memories of the Diary of Anne Frank, Hitler, the Holocaust; the Kindertransport (a.k.a. “Children’s Train”). True, there’s a lot going on in this wrenching story as it uncovers life in the lives of the German Jewish children. When children are stripped of their parents, it’s never an easy pill to dissolve. The reactions of th In a tale of historical fiction with fictional characters, history buffs this one will spark your interest. Its storybook depicts pieces of history. It may bring to mind the memories of the Diary of Anne Frank, Hitler, the Holocaust; the Kindertransport (a.k.a. “Children’s Train”). True, there’s a lot going on in this wrenching story as it uncovers life in the lives of the German Jewish children. When children are stripped of their parents, it’s never an easy pill to dissolve. The reactions of the children (from treatment scenes) did seem implausible −in a few incidents. Surprisingly, there were areas the writing was undeveloped. Even though each child had their own individualized journey, I wouldn’t mind seeing more development of scene, characterization, and power-packed emotions. “The Children’s Train” speaks to how one to break barriers to overcome the hurt experienced.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gail Mchugh

    What can any person say about a book like this? You certainly cannot say I loved it or I enjoyed reading it (wanting to vomit every chapter) or what a great read. This book was a horror story. It was absolutely heart wrenching and sickening. We read books like this and cannot believe any human could be so vicious, cruel and without conscience. We have learned nothing from the Hitler nightmare. It still goes on and on and on, perhaps not with the single-mindedness of the Nazi regime but genocide What can any person say about a book like this? You certainly cannot say I loved it or I enjoyed reading it (wanting to vomit every chapter) or what a great read. This book was a horror story. It was absolutely heart wrenching and sickening. We read books like this and cannot believe any human could be so vicious, cruel and without conscience. We have learned nothing from the Hitler nightmare. It still goes on and on and on, perhaps not with the single-mindedness of the Nazi regime but genocide is genocide. Armenia, Rwanda, Bosnia, all genocide has left a stain on humankind. Humans are the worst creatures on this beautiful planet. We kill for joy! This book has left a hole in my heart.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Becky Andersen

    So riveting. So chilling. So suspenseful. Zinser used so many characters that I felt like I knew this neighborhood. It's one thing to have read a few pages in a history about the horrors experienced by Jews, and quite another to experience it through the eyes of the characters. Since it's based on true accounts that occurred during the Holocaust, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that many of the characters died tragically.And yet it did and I felt the fear, anguish, bewilderment and an So riveting. So chilling. So suspenseful. Zinser used so many characters that I felt like I knew this neighborhood. It's one thing to have read a few pages in a history about the horrors experienced by Jews, and quite another to experience it through the eyes of the characters. Since it's based on true accounts that occurred during the Holocaust, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that many of the characters died tragically.And yet it did and I felt the fear, anguish, bewilderment and anger as I turned each page. But finally, the war ends. And who is left? Read this amazing book to find out. I'm sure you'll realize how important stories, both true and based-on-fact fiction, are historically. We must never forget.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Woody Johnson

    Heart wrenching story of the plight of the Jewish children in Hitler's Germany Always a fan of historical fiction from the WWII era, this book does not disappoint. It is well written and the fictional characters were very believable. The only reason I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the author depicted some scenarios that just weren't very plausible. For example, when Peter the young Jewish rebel snatched the gun from the German policeman with his yo-yo? That was a little much. But a Heart wrenching story of the plight of the Jewish children in Hitler's Germany Always a fan of historical fiction from the WWII era, this book does not disappoint. It is well written and the fictional characters were very believable. The only reason I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because the author depicted some scenarios that just weren't very plausible. For example, when Peter the young Jewish rebel snatched the gun from the German policeman with his yo-yo? That was a little much. But all in all, still a great read that I recommend to all interested in this facet of the war and the stories of broken Jewish families under Nazi oppression.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lindasp

    There was amazing history in this book concerning the Kindertransport in which Jewish children were brought out of Germany to England before the WWII. It was heartbreaking for these parents to let them go. I was also interested in reading how these children began new lives in safety and also how one main character became involved in the Resistance movement. The one thing about this book which was difficult for me was that there were so many characters -the children in England and their parents i There was amazing history in this book concerning the Kindertransport in which Jewish children were brought out of Germany to England before the WWII. It was heartbreaking for these parents to let them go. I was also interested in reading how these children began new lives in safety and also how one main character became involved in the Resistance movement. The one thing about this book which was difficult for me was that there were so many characters -the children in England and their parents in Germany and Poland, and the flipping back and forth, that I had some trouble remembering who was who at times.

  27. 4 out of 5

    maria seilius

    Well written . Simply but well written this book definitely evokes an emotional response to the story . The characters are fictional but the horrific treatment of the Jews is historically accurate . The story is told mainly from the point of view of the children and should therefore appeal to young people interested in learning about this period in time . It would definitely help them to understand the true horror of the holocaust . This book managed to do this without being overly graphic .

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bette

    A Step Back into Despair and then the Return to Hope The history not learned from is revisited through the eyes and hearts of those who suffered unimaginable loss and torture. Out of the stories of those times, a picture of how hate fueled the atrocities. Artfully woven together making that time in history come to life through the perspectives of the believable characters. And in the midst of it all, my compassion for this people, my heart felt their pain. And yet, we have forgotten.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This book would make a good YA read. It is written quite simply, and doesn't dwell on the atrocities perpetuated in the camps. It touches on the horrors and struggles faced by the Jews, without being too graphic. It is reminiscent of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas in that we see events through young eyes. Some of Peter's exploits seemed a little far fetched, but that is a minor criticism. The ending is optimistic although tinged with much sadness, and the reunion between Stephen and his mother giv This book would make a good YA read. It is written quite simply, and doesn't dwell on the atrocities perpetuated in the camps. It touches on the horrors and struggles faced by the Jews, without being too graphic. It is reminiscent of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas in that we see events through young eyes. Some of Peter's exploits seemed a little far fetched, but that is a minor criticism. The ending is optimistic although tinged with much sadness, and the reunion between Stephen and his mother gives an inkling of how difficult reconnecting will be.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melody Herr

    Transported back in time The author tells an illustrious tale of love, sorrow, and terror intricately interwoven together. You fall in love with the characters and feel their tragedy jump off the pages and into your heart. Tales of the holocaust are numerous but telling this from the point of view of the children saved added an element of hope that helps the reader stomach the more insidious events. The imagery invoked by the author is vivid and compelling. The contrast of fates s they unfolded a Transported back in time The author tells an illustrious tale of love, sorrow, and terror intricately interwoven together. You fall in love with the characters and feel their tragedy jump off the pages and into your heart. Tales of the holocaust are numerous but telling this from the point of view of the children saved added an element of hope that helps the reader stomach the more insidious events. The imagery invoked by the author is vivid and compelling. The contrast of fates s they unfolded adds to the gripping nature of this book. I couldn’t put it down.

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