The German invasion of Poland ends Peter’s peaceful life with his parents on their farm in the Polish countryside. Peter’s parents are killed and he is sent to an orphanage, but as he is the very epitome of Aryan youth and has some German blood, he is spared the wretched fate of many of the other boys and adopted by Professor Kaltenbach and taken to live with his family in Berlin.
At first, life in Berlin proves a relief to Peter; he joins the Hitler Youth and avidly listens to the radio reports of Germany’s prowess on the battlefields. However, Peter becomes troubled by the activities of the Nazis and finds himself risking his life to protect those who are persecuted.
Ausländer gives a fascinating insight into life in Berlin during WorldWar II – a perspective not frequently portrayed in young adult fiction. The closing chapters are especially gripping and will keep readers on the edge of their seats.