Summer of My German Soldier Chapters 8-9 Summary
by Bette Greene

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Chapters 8-9 Summary

At breakfast the next morning, Patty sees "the biggest, blackest headline...since Pearl Harbor" on the front page of the daily newspaper. The article announces the capture of eight Nazi saboteurs on the coasts of Florida and New York, and describes an underground network within the country which had reputedly been ready to assist them. The piece ends with the ominous warning, "Any person acting as a spy in wartime shall suffer death."

Thinking of Anton over in the hideout, Patty tells herself that he is not a Nazi, and she is not a spy; although she knows that her actions would not be applauded, she rationalizes that she is simply helping a captured German soldier. She reads another article about a local boy who has been killed in combat; this young man is described as "a brave soldier and a splendid patriot," and Patty wonders at the dichotomy between helping one's country and helping someone from an enemy country. When breakfast is over and Ruth is occupied in another area of the house, Patty packs a paper bag with food from the refrigerator and heads out to the apartment over the garage. Although she desperately wants to see Anton again, a part of her hopes that he has left.

Anton is indeed still waiting at the hideout, and although he momentarily reacts with anger when Patty shouts out his name as she arrives, his ire quickly subsides, and he expresses pleasure and gratitude that she has come. The escaped soldier insists that Patty share the meal that she has brought for him, and as they eat, the two talk companionably. Anton tells Patty about his father, a highly regarded professor of history at the University of Gottingen, who chose "acquiescence and life rather than resistance and death" when Hitler came to power and the freedom to speak out was curtailed. His mother is a cultured woman whose primary virtues are "her warmth and her great sense of fun;" it is clear that he misses her greatly. Anton also has a younger sister whom he says he had never had time for, and he fervently hopes that he will have another chance to make things right with her.

Anton has been incarcerated for twenty-seven months, and engineered his escape just because he was desperate to be free. He had been able to get out of the prison camp by bribing a guard with the diamond pin he had bought at Bergen's Department Store; the hapless enlisted man had believed that the fake jewels were real. Anton asks Patty why she is risking so much to help him, a German soldier, and is amazed by the irony of their situation when he learns that she is Jewish. The reason for Patty's actions is as uncomplicated as is Anton's motive for escaping: caring, friendship, and, quite simply, love.

Anton Reiker's escape garners far more attention than might have been anticipated, because it occurs in the wake of the attempted landing of the Nazi saboteurs. The FBI arrives in Jenkinsville to investigate, and when Sister Parker remembers that Patty had served Reiker at the store, the young girl is brought in for questioning. When the official asks Patty why she had been talking and laughing with the prisoner, Patty says it was because he could not think...

(The entire section is 824 words.)