Don't Tell the Nazis

Don't Tell the Nazis

by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch


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Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (author of Making Bombs for Hitler) crafts a story of ultimate compassion and sacrifice based on true events during WWII.

The year is 1941. Krystia lives in a small Ukrainian village under the cruel -- sometimes violent -- occupation of the Soviets. So when the Nazis march into town to liberate them, many of Krystia's neighbors welcome the troops with celebrations, hoping for a better life.

But conditions don't improve as expected. Krystia's friend Dolik and the other Jewish people in town warn that their new occupiers may only bring darker days.

The worst begins to happen when the Nazis blame the Jews for murders they didn't commit. As the Nazis force Jews into a ghetto, Krystia does what she can to help Dolik and his family. But what they really need is a place to hide. Faced with unimaginable tyranny and cruelty, will Krystia risk everything to protect her friends and neighbors?

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal


Gr 5 Up—Following up on earlier titles such as Making Bombs for Hitler and Stolen Girl, Skrypuch again crafts an evocative story based on real events. Krystia, around 12 years old, is living under Soviet occupation in a small Ukrainian village in 1941. When the Germans arrive, the townspeople are initially celebratory, anticipating that their lives will improve, but their hopes are soon dashed. Krystia is not Jewish, but she and her family are horrified as their Jewish neighbors begin to be persecuted. When more German people arrive in the village, Krystia learns about the varying levels of classification used by the Nazis. The "Master Race" consists of Aryans, Germans, and Volksdeutsche. Anyone else, including Ukrainians, are considered "lesser" or subhuman, with Jewish people at the bottom of the list. Many Jewish villagers are killed outright, while Krystia's family slowly starves as they are forced to give their food and livestock to the Volksdeutsche settlers. When a Nazi commander discovers hidden Jews in Krystia's home, her mother is killed for the crime, and Krystia is forced to flee. The relative isolation of the rural setting and the Ukrainian point of view set this novel apart from the majority of World War II accounts, and Krystia is believable as a young girl forced into heroism by extraordinary circumstances. VERDICT A harrowing, suspenseful follow-up for readers of Skrypuch's earlier books or Ruta Sepetys's Between Shades of Gray.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond

Kirkus Reviews

Liberated from the Soviets by the Nazis: Frying pan, meet fire.

When the German army marches into Krystia's Ukrainian town, everyone greets the soldiers as liberators. Kind Mrs. Segal, ethnically Ukrainian Krystia's Jewish neighbor, takes a lovely photograph of Krystia flinging a flower into the air as they celebrate their rescuers. The local Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians (considered ethnic groups at the time, not nationalities or religions, as Krystia makes quite clear) are perhaps excessively naïve about the goodwill of the invading Germans, as seen through Krystia's optimistic eyes. But that hope is soon shattered, as the Nazis, like the Soviets before them, take any property they desire and hold human life cheap. Ukrainians and Poles are wretched subhumans to the Nazis, unfit for schooling or any life but labor—but that's nothing on how they treat the local Jews. On a trumped-up charge, the Nazi commandant arrests 101 Jewish men and has them shot. Krystia sees her neighbors buried in a mass grave and their meager clothing given to ethnic German interlopers. Shockingly, the situation only deteriorates from there, as the Nazis execute their solution to the "Jewish Question." The first-person account, based on the real-life Krystia's memories as told to Skrypuch, reads like a memoir; despite the historically accurate body count, it retains a sense of hope.

An accessible entry in a crowded, vital field, honoring those who risked everything to save others. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 9-11)

From the Publisher

Praise for The War Below:

"Skrypuch offers a compelling, visceral novel of survival that provides an unusual view of the war... The suspenseful story carries the reader along to its satisfying conclusion." -- Booklist

"Skrypuch continues to shed light on the double jeopardy that many Ukrainians experienced... A page-turning window into a complex piece of World War II history." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This story, full of numerous acts of compassion and valor, sheds welcome light on a less familiar battleground of World War II." -- Publishers Weekly

"A riveting read." -- YA Books Central

Praise for Making Bombs for Hitler:

"A gripping story that asks: What would you do to survive?" -- Alan Gratz, author of Prisoner B-3087

"Inspired by real, historical accounts, this is a powerful, harrowing story of transformation." -- Booklist

"Skrypuch draws on real-life stories of survivors in telling Lida's poignant tale, and she creates a cast of young people who are devoted to one another in both thought and deed.... A well-told story of persistence, lost innocence, survival, and hope." -- Kirkus Reviews

"The story [has a] strong undercurrent of friendship and loyalty; an author's note gives further background on this important piece of history." -- Publishers Weekly

"Students will admire Lida's pluck amid such heinous conditions.... An absorbing read about the lesser-known Ukrainian experience during World War II, this is a solid choice for curricular ties and for middle school historical fiction collections." -- School Library Journal

"Skrypuch has written a gripping, emotional novel of one Ukrainian girl's perseverance during the horrors of war.... This is a vivid picture of what youth experienced during World War II and the hopelessness of displaced populations of all backgrounds and religions." -- Voice of Youth Advocates

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781338310535
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 12/03/2019
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 172,411
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

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