Volume 21 Number 4
Daniel is a fourteen-year-old Jewish boy living in Germany. The year is 1941. Although Daniel is a fictional character, this is a true story of what happened to many children who lived and died during the Holocaust.
When the story opens, Daniel and his family are on a train to Poland. Daniel, a photography buff, takes out his photo album and reminisces about life in Frankfurt, where he grew up: family celebrations, school, friends, his father's store. This life is over forever.
The rest of the book is woven together with other photographs: Daniel's first girlfriend, Rosa, a resistance worker; the death camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Even when some of the photographs are lost or stolen, Daniel can still see them in his head, and he never forgets. His world has turned upside down, but he carries on, not knowing if his family or friends are alive or dead.
Daniel's Story is well written: the grim terror of Nazi oppression is balanced by happy memories and hope. Daniel is a likeable character, strong and committed to seeing truth and justice win out in the end. While the story ends on a bittersweet note, the reader does not leave the book thoroughly depressed but rather inspired by the strength of the human spirit. This story has to be told and retold, so that we never forget the horror of the Holocaust. Use Daniel's Story in a history or English class, or offer it to teens to read on their own.
Anne Louise Mahoney is an Ottawa editor.
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