Parallel Journeys - Eleanor H. Ayer - Google Books

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Parallel Journeys

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  • TITLE: Parallel Journeys
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    She was a young German Jew. He was an ardent member of the Hitler Youth. This is the story of their parallel journey through World War II. Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck were born just a few miles from each other in the German Rhineland. But their lives took radically different courses: Helen's to the Auschwitz extermination camp; Alfons to a high rank in the Hitler Youth. While Helen was hiding in Amsterdam, Alfons was a fanatic believer in Hitler's "master race." While she was crammed in a cattle car bound for the death camp Auschwitz, he was a teenage commander of frontline troops, ready to fight and die for the glory of Hitler and the Fatherland. This book tells both of their stories, side-by-side, in an overwhelming account of the nightmare that was WWII. The riveting stories of these two remarkable people must stand as a powerful lesson to us all.

  • language arts, reading, Parallel Journeys, non-fiction, Holocaust, genocide, history, inferences, literary response, audience, tone, propaganda, genre, literary analysis, theme, graphic features, videos, music, character analysis, persuasive writing

    Parallel Journeys, by Eleanor Ayer with Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck, compares the life of two young people in Germany during the rise of Hitler and the outbreak of World War II. They were born within sixty miles of each other, but their lives took dramatically different paths.

    Parallel Journeys
    Eleanor H. Ayer
    Limited preview - 2011

  • Parallel Journeys
    Eleanor H. Ayer,Helen Waterford,Alfons Heck
    Snippet view - 1995

    Parallel Journeys has been a wonderful addition to my Holocaust Literature course. The novel allows students to read about the Holocaust from the viewpoint of the perpetrators. But more importantly, the author intertwines basic occurrences of the Holocaust (and World War II) with the personal experiences of a Holocaust survivor, Helen Waterford, and Alfons Heck, a former Hitler Youth. Thus, if students read this book toward the end of my course, they will not only have the opportunity to review many important concepts and events of the Holocaust, but they will continue to view these events through the eyes of witnesses to Hitler's horrors. The novel is easy to read and follow since each individual chapter (except Chapter Four which deals with both Heck and Waterford's experiences surrounding Kristallnacht) is devoted to only one person's experiences. For example, Chapter One focuses on Heck's childhood growing up in a Volksschule (German elementary school) where he learned he was fortunate to be one of Hitler's "Master Race." Subsequently, Chapter Two details Waterford's upbringing and the beginnings of her experiences with anti-Jewish legislation such as the Nuremberg Laws.

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I really enjoyed “Parallel Journeys.” By reading this book, I got an accurate idea as to how life actually was for people during the Holocaust. Because the content is graphic and may not appeal to younger people, I would recommend this to anybody that is reading at or above a high school level.