#FinallyFriday {1}: Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army

Finally Friday is a meme started by me (Jessica, aka @coffeelvnmom) and J from @life_love_fandomsThis week's I-finally-read-this-waiting-on-Wednesday-book is: Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army

Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army(This review was originally posted 2/24/15.) I'm a sucker for WWII survival stories, especially when they're YA. And yet... it's been weeks since I finished Mr. Rauch's memoir, and I'm *still* not sure what to say. You think you know what it must have been like after learning about WWII so many times in school or watching movies or doing reports or reading books about it, but you don't. Not really. Nothing can prepare you for how atrocious things got on both sides of the warfront as the war continued. Nothing can prepare you for the emotional turmoil anyone put through war has to go through. Especially when you read true recounts down to specific details (like killing a few hundred lice every night just before going to bed, for instance--and this was one of the lesser horrific ones). It breaks you. 

Most stories about WWII have to do with survivors *not* on the side of Hitler. What makes Unlikely Warrior: AJSIHA so different is that, amidst the chaos of war and death and prejudice, Georg was not a survivor of a camp, or a Jew in hiding, but a Jewish soldier, forced to fight on Hitler's side doing something he didn't even believe in. 

As you go with young Georg on his journey, reading letters his mother saved, seeing photos of family, and looking at illustrations he drew back in that day, you feel for him. You want to sit with Georg, hug his past self, and tell him everything'll be okay. And what broke me after going on that journey with him was the fact that he's no longer here to reach out to. 

I am so, so grateful for being given a chance to read this book. So glad that, even after so many decades, Mr. Rauch finally chose to tell his story. I'm also incredibly grateful for his wife, Phyllis Rauch, for translating it into English; and to Farrar, Straus, & Giroux for getting Mr. Rauch's book to more readers.

This is a good read, guys, and worth every single minute.

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Jen said...

I have a family member who loves books like this, so thanks so much for letting me know about it!
Jen at YA Romantics

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

I'm super-late reading this, but you're welcome, Jen! :D