Last term was World Book Day, a global celebration of everything books, and, as a special treat, we, year 7 and 8 students, got to see a very interesting video made by Tom Palmer, author of Foul Play, Roy of the Rovers and, more recently, After the War. Let’s talk about After the War; What is it about? Well, it is about World War 2, and, more accurately, orphaned children (mostly Jewish) adjusting to life after the war, hence the title. They were taken to Lake Windermere, in the Lake District, and there, were cared for by local families until they were ready to resume a normal life after their traumatic experiences in Nazi concentration camps.
Tom Palmer stressed in his video about the accuracy of books about the Holocaust and World War 2 as a whole. Read a book such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, for example, and you will find all sorts of inaccuracies, but in After the War there is none of that. Tom Palmer explained that he did extensive research, such as going to Lake Windermere himself and also meeting some of the children who settled there. He felt that he had a responsibility to tell the harrowing stories accurately, so as to make sure that he did the survivors justice.
I had read After the War myself, prior to World Book Day, on recommendation from my mum, and I found it incredibly moving and quite different to some other books I have read on the Holocaust, as they generally focus on the horrors themselves rather than the aftermath, and I found it really interesting. Would the survivors be welcomed into the community or treated with hostility? How long did they have to wait to find out what had happened to their families? These were questions that I hadn’t really thought about and yet, now I realise that, for the survivors of the Holocaust, the end of the war wasn’t the end of troubles for them. It is a very sobering book, as Holocaust related books generally are, but I would definitely recommend you to read this book, either by borrowing it from the school library (they have 2 copies) or your local library (when you can) or by buying it from a bookshop. It is a great read and I implore you to read.
by James Harris Year 8