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Purnima Mukherjee Essay

The book Europa Europa also made into a film is an enthralling and unforgettable story of a young boy who survived the Holocaust by hiding his Jewish identity and getting inducted as a member of the Hitler youth team as a translator. The author Solomon Perel records his own life history in this book and the accounts are very poignant, extraordinary and personal. The story of his life is really astonishing and almost unbelievable. A young Jewish boy flees from Germany to Russia, serves with the Wehrmacht in Russia and is adopted by the commanding officer and was also sent to an elite Hitler youth school.

The story is inimitable. Perel lives with the Nazi but his feelings for the Jews do not die. He leads a life of double existence. He is Hitler youth (Hitlerjunge) outside and a contemplative and tormented Jew inside. It is very difficult to think of the fact that how could Perel mingle these two opposing personalities in himself. Europa Europa presents before the readers the amazing experiences of the author in the development of different incidents and happenstances. The story ends with the illustrations of the hollowness of racial hatred. Nazi comrades who loved and respected Perel not knowing his identity would have not hesitated to kill him had they been aware of his original identity.

 Solomon Perel was born in Germany in 1925 and lived there but with the development of the Nazi society his family moved eastward. To avoid disgrace and harassment by the Germans the family settled in Poland. When the Germans attacked Poland in September 1939, Solomon and his brother Issak fled to Russia. Solomon joined an orphanage while his brother went elsewhere.

There Solomon lived until Germany attacked Russia. The German military group captured and killed innocent Jews. Solomon miraculously could save himself by convincing the German soldiers that he was an ethnic German and not Europa Europa  a Jew and that the Russians killed his parents and forced him into an orphanage. His fluency in the German language helped him to convince them.

From that day till the end of the war He lived with the Nazis as a Nazi. He became. He even had to sing a song speaking of spilling the blood of the Jews.He was sent to elite school. It was difficult for him to conceal his identity in school. As he was circumcised as a Jew he could not even develop an intimate relationship with his girlfriend Leni who was a staunch supporter of Hitler and proud of the German race. When the war finally ends Perel is very eager to reunite with his family but he confronts reality that he has only his brothers David and Issak and his parents are no more. Perel leaves the country and goes to Israel and settles there.

This book is a very appropriate book for teaching the students of 11th grade who are slowly getting introduced to global history and developing interest in historical phenomenon around the world. Europa Europa by Solomon Perel is not only an autobiography of an individual man but it relates the condition and history of the Jews during the time of the World War II in Germany under Adolf Hitler. It describes the futility of the Nazis and their meaningless struggle to uphold their race.

History as read in books may appear to be dull and uninteresting without examples. But the true incidents and stories in the book with the background of war are not only interesting but bear a lot of credibility. The book also inspires the youth of this grade to be able to adjust with any kind of state of affair for the sake of existence.

The condition of the Jews and the inhuman torture of the Nazis, the conditions of prisoners in concentration camps and the discrimination of men on the ground of racism are highlighted in this book vividly which helps the students of this grade to obtain a lot of information on the conditions prevalent in Germany during the World War II which is an important account of global history. The book simplifies history in the veil of a true life story and gives a clear view to the students which make them worth remembering.


Perel, Solomon (1997). Europa Europa: A True Story of the Holocaust

Barnes & Noble


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