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Judy Mitchell

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 194

No one would accuse The Summer of My German Soldier of being an upbeat story. It seems, first of all, to operate on the principle of reversing some standard elements of holocaust literature: the American child is a Jew, but she offers safety to a fugitive German prisoner-of-war.

Her father and mother are terrible people, and Patty's isolation from everyone else in Jenkinsville, Arkansas, is so palpable that some of the children who suffered through the war in Europe seem fortunate by contrast. Patty loved Anton, gave him what help she could, and mourned his death when that help was not enough. For this she is repudiated by her family and persecuted by the townspeople. Her Jewishness is an embarrassment to other Jews…. Summer of My German Soldier catches the despair of the holocaust and its aftermath by indicating that one sensitive, loving little girl and one gentle German boy are no match for the times in which they live. They make a symbolic commitment to reaching out, and because of this they swell the list of victims. (pp. 16-17)

Judy Mitchell, "Children of the Holocaust," in English Journal, Vol. 69, No. 7, October, 1980, pp. 14-18.∗

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