ENSNARED IN THE WOLF’S LAIR (Cybils 2021)

This year’s Cybils Nominees don’t shy away from difficult topics or little-discussed eposides of history!

Today we have Ann Bausam’s ENSNARED IN THE WOLF’S LAIR: Inside the 1944 Plot to Kill Hitler and the Ghost Children of his Revenge.

The Ghost Children were the young relatives of those involved, or thought to be involved in the failed assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler. In Zippenhauft (family punishment), distant adult relatives (or children) of the Resistance were executed. Most kids were sent en masse to the to Borntal orphanage in the middle of obscure German village.

The Nazis launched a campagin of psychological abuse against the children the year they lived in the orphanage, and changed so their names so their relatives couldn’t find them after the war.

Told from diaries of the children and of village locals, and interviews with some of the now-elderly Ghost Children, this heartbreaking book reads like a thriller and was hard to put down.

Loved

This was an interesting and fast-paced book, that would be enjoyed by an advviaced middle-grade reader/history buff.

Accurate and age-appropriate description of long-lasting PTSD of these kids; whose parents paid the ultimate price for being the only decent adults in Third Reich Germany.

Caveat

It was difficult to read (and very difficult to accept) explanations of why it took so long for the German people to realize their country was ruled by a psychotic monster.

To her credit, Bausam makes it clear that the resistance wasn’t 100% about humanity and morals; it was about losing the war and not wanting to go into another Post-WWI situation.

Graphic (though schadenfreude-inducing) description of Hitler’s injuries during Valkyrie.

Also… this is a non-fiction book about Adolf Hitler. A lot of German rebels are killed, with their left-behind young children described. It clearly illustrates the human cost of war and doing what’s right, but more sensitive readers may find these descriptions (excerpts from final messages to family) triggering.

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