Making Bombs For Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

This story details an obscure piece of real history and shows us just how powerful hope and courage are in helping people to survive under difficult circumstances.

During World War II Lida and her sister watch in horror as their Jewish neighbors, forced to wear a yellow star for identification, are all taken away.  Where did they go and why?

Their family is not Jewish, but they wonder if they will be next.  Soon, they are snatched from their parents and taken prisoner by the Nazis too, but for different reasons.  Her sister -branded as “Lebensborn”– was placed for adoption with a German family as detailed in the book Stolen Child by the same author.  Lida, however,  became labeled as an “Ostarbeiter”, and was forced to work in a munitions factory making bombs for the war effort.

The working conditions for Lida and the other Ukrainian children are bad.  They are terrified of their captors and they are starving.  None of them know how long they will live or what has happened to their families, so they decide to sabotage the bombs. They are enslaved, but they refuse to surrender to evil.

This story is important because it  connects readers emotionally to the facts. It can help students identify dangerous patterns in society; to recognize when history might be close to repeating itself.  It helps readers recognize that a law can be legal and immoral at the same time.  It asks students to ponder the question: If it was legal under Germany’s Nazi-era laws for the SS officers to kidnap children, were they morally right to take them?

Similar Books of Interest:

When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

Under a War-Torn Sky by Laura Elliott

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

Tamar by Mal Peet

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

Yellow Star by Jennifer Rozines Roy

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


Born to read, forced to work.

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2 thoughts on “BOB Book Winner 2018 – School Pick

  1. This was one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. The human connections and the resilience of the children portrayed in the story were amazing. I’ve read many historical fiction books from this time period, but they generally focus on the genocide of the Jewish families. I liked that this book focused on the widespread mistreatment of any people who were not Nazis in the war zone. I think this would complement the true story of Anne Frank and again demonstrate the strength within children to resist hate in order to save others.

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