When does Summer of My German Soldier take place and where is the setting?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bette Greene's 1973 novel, The Summer of My German Soldier, tells the story of a group of German prisoners of war who arrive at their new POW camp in Jenkinsville, Arkansas in 1944 or 1945. Patty Bergen is a 12 year old girl who befriends a German English-speaking POW when he is brought by authorities to purchase goods at Patty's father's store. Anton Reiker is the English-speaking German POW with English roots and no great love for the Nazis. His mother was born in Manchester, England, and his father is a history teacher who often ridiculed Adolf Hitler in his classes.

When Anton escapes from the POW camp, Patty hides him in the family's garage apartment. She steals food for Anton and the two become friends. He gives her his only possession, a ring given to him by his grandfather, before taking the train out of Arkansas. Anton makes it as far as New York, where he is shot and killed by authorities, and Patty is eventually tried for her part in hiding the prisoner. Patty is sent to a juvenile reformatory and her parents eventually leave Jenkinsville in shame.

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Summer of My German Soldier

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