illustration of main character Hannah opening a door which leads to a barbed wire fence

The Devil's Arithmetic

by Jane Yolen
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What is the basic plot of The Devil's Arithmetic?

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The Devil’s Arithmetic is about a girl named Hannah who gets magically transported through time on Passover.  She has little patience with her Jewish traditions.  She says she is tired of remembering.  When Hannah finds herself in another person’s body, she has no choice but to go along with it.  One day she realizes that the Holocaust has started.  Unfortunately, there is nothing she can do.  She is transported to a concentration camp, has her head shaved, and is assigned a number.  Before long, she faces imminent death.  She takes the place of her friend, and just when she would have been dead she returns to the future.

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