“Things will be great!” I said. “No more sirens, no more bombs...”
“And you know what else?” Katy said, putting a lid on my enthusiasm.
“When the war’s over you’ll go home to London.
And I'll be alone again..."
As the Battle of Britain rages on, Sarah Kirschner grows up far from home after being evacuated from London with busloads of other children. Living among non-Jews from the age of eleven, she befriends Rozy, a German refugee haunted by her past. When Rozy runs away, Sarah finds love and comfort with Katy and her wealthy family. But then tragedy strikes — and Sarah must deal with a changed world.
When the War Ends is a historical novel that explores the enigma of friendship, family relationships, and kinship with the world at large. Once again, Ruti Tanenwald, author of Little Sister and Serina, weaves drama and pathos into a moving and thought-provoking tale.
- ITEM #: 7055
- Dimensions: 6 x 9
- ISBN: 978-1-59826-117-2
- Weight: 1.0600 lbs
- Binding: Hard Cover / 217 pages
- Published by: Feldheim
Sapir Press, a division of Feldheim Publishers has released in English Ruti Tanenwald’s novel (“When the War Ends”) about a Jewish girl named Sari Kirschner who along with other Jewish children are evacuated from war-torn London to the safety of a distant small English village to wait out dangers of the Battle of Britain. The compelling novel was originally published in Hebrew under the title of “Hadod Hatov Shel Roly.”
The reader is transported in time to one of the most dangerous times in modern history - the Second World War - and yet it is a story that many Jews outside of England are perhaps not too familiar with. When we think of the danger confronting Jews in the Second World War we of course tend to think of the Holocaust that took the lives of approximately six million of our Jewish brethren on the European continent.
It therefore is a surprise for many to learn that in Germany’s desperate and brutal attempt to force Great Britain to sue for peace and perhaps even soften it up for a land invasion in pursuit of conquest; that Jews in London (as well as even gentiles) were in great danger of being killed during one of the most devastating aerial bombings of civilian targets in such important cities such as London and Manchester. Indeed thousands did die in the Luftwaffe’s deadly attacks on English cities.
Being that Jews were mostly living in the major British cities, there were few if any Jewish homes in which to place the many Jewish children being evacuated from the dangers of London. So 11-year-old Sari Kirschner on being evacuated to the bucolic village of Spellbrook many hours away from her childhood home in London was placed in the home of a gentile family.
A big surprise comes when Sari realizes that not only is she not getting a bedroom but not even a traditional bed. Her hostess put together to armchairs graced with a clean white sheet. And if that isn’t difficult enough a formerly coddled child to deal with, the husband of the house on Saturday night regularly returns home stone drunk and beats his wife while screaming.
On a special visit from London when Mrs. Kirschner learns of the drunken husband she immediately goes to the authorities supervising the evacuated children and arranges for her daughter Sari to be placed in a second home. Yet, again an unpleasant incident – this time of a more clearly anti-Semitic nature - occurs. And yet the greatest danger occurs when a non-Jewish classmate from the village befriends her and sets in motion a serious challenge to Sari’s Jewish neshama that can come from too much compassion, kindness and friendliness.
“When the War Ends” has a dramatic and unexpected ending that teaches an important lesson in how we are to relate with non-Jews and yet recognize our mission in life as members of G-d’s Chosen People.
Two of my daughters thoroughly enjoyed the book. While seemingly written for the juvenile post bar mitzvah girls, I think it would also be greatly appreciated by women or even by Jews who might be bothered by the question of whether Jews are too arrogant and perhaps unjustly disparage gentiles. Definitely a great gift idea for the appropriate reader.