The German Child

Written by Catherine Hokin
Review by Linda Harris Sittig

This is a heart-wrenching novel sharing a part of the Holocaust that is perhaps not so well known. In 1941, a special group of Nazis begins to kidnap Polish children. They only take the ones with blonde hair and blue eyes, those who look Aryan. The goal is to separate them from their families and indoctrinate them to become good German children. For every German soldier who dies in battle, a new good German child will join the ranks of the Fatherland.

The novel begins with Polish mothers trying to hide their children from the Angel of Death, a heartless woman who steals children away from their families. Then, the plot switches to 1979 with a lawyer named Evie, who is working on the cases of Polish children torn from their families in WWII to see if their stories can be documented and families hopefully reunited.

One case involves a young man named Sebastian, whose childhood memories are foggy, but he remembers two sets of mothers. As Evie takes on his case and journeys with him to Germany, they discover documents that will alter both of their lives forever. Suddenly, the Angel of Death has a real name, a name that Evie recognizes.

This was a very emotional book to read. The story is well-paced, the characters are all very real, and the action propels the reader to keep reading and hoping for a happy ending. While I recommend the book, I found myself drained by the horrific details of what mankind has done to their fellow man or, in this case, to children.