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Helga starts slowly and feels clunky, especially for the first part. No doubt this is because the author is being careful with Helga' s memories, which lose immediacy in the telling.I kept feeling that it was wooden. However, the pace picks up when Helga leaves the hotel/camp when the Russians invade. The author picks up the drama of Helga' s terrible experiences of being a young teenager in a dystopian country, including being raped. I would have liked to learn more about her life after the war.
We hear of many stories of victims of Nazi madness but Helga is also a victim of the.lies and craziness.
Helga had a happy young life and was devoted to the Nazi cause by the series of brainwashing in Hitler’s youth. A delightful story of her change of heart as things got tough and the Russians drew near to Berlin.
I 'm honestly more confused after reading this book. What was the purpose of the 'brain-washing', 'training', of all these young girls. At age 10, they all go to an hotel learn their lessons, and then finally they must stand at attention, waiting for inspection. Instead of a few weeks or a few months - they are kept there for two years. Food is not lacking at this hotel. Their next trip is near the Baltic Sea. Food is not as abundant this time. This time around, the girls are asked to mend and repair socks for the German soldiers. Young boys were trained, and were sent out to the battle field or they were hung, with a sign stating that they refused to be a soldier and to fight for their (father) mother-land. I didn't really understand the role that the girl's played. Perhaps, I wasn't reading the story with enough in-sight.
This "non-fiction" novel could easily be read by teenagers as well as by adults albeit they might need some supervision to understand the tougher parts of the story. The author tells the story of one woman who as a young girl was forced after her tenth birthday to join as a "Jugend," a member of Hitler's child army, "trained to revere and obey the Fuhrer." Although her parents were not in favour of this, there really was no option to joining, and before long Helga was being brainwashed to believe that Hitler loved her and was her benefactor.
The book was based on interviews with a librarian who had emigrated to the US in 1948. The story is a true one and spoken with her voice. As the story progresses she begins to question what she is being taught. She was taken away from her home for lengthy periods of time, fed well at a time when food was scare for everyone at the community (Including her parents). At the end of the war she and two friends were left to make their way home alone and had contact with Russian soldiers that could be upsetting to some (rape was involved).
In movies and books one often hears of the Hitler Youth movement, but typically it is referring to young boys. I found this book particularly interesting in that it told the story of what the girls had to deal with. It also gave a picture of the life of the typical German - forced to contribute money regularly to little girls collecting money for Hitler, being told that they could not hug or kiss their children and often living in fear that things they said within family could be used against them. It makes me appreciate the human rights we have today and how important it is that we stand up for them and never allow this to happen again.