Monday 30 October 2017

The Steiner School is evacuated

Renate gets to live at the seaside. The whole school is evacuated. However, the beach isn’t necessarily a place you would want to go. These children have braved it however. Here is a picture of what it looked like:

Here is an excerpt from The House on Schellberg Street:
She took a deep breath and felt the sea air fill her. She was aware of her body getting stronger.
Eva took a deep breath too. “Hmm,” she said. “It is so wonderful to breathe this fresh air. And listen.” She cupped her ear. “No noisy bombs and sirens.”
“Will you keep your voice down?” hissed Frau Edler. “You with you über-Yiddish accent. You’ll give us away.”
What on earth did Mutti mean?
“If they recognise us as being Yiddish,” said Eva, “surely they’ll realise that we hate Herr Hitler as much as they do.”
“Not so much of the us,” said Frau Edler. “I am certainly not Yiddish. I am married to a respected German Catholic, my parents were Lutheran and my mother is still Christian. The whole family has never spoken anything but Hochdeutsch.”
“You’re still Yiddish,” said Eva. “Jüdische Deutsche. Yiddish.”
“You don’t really care what people think do you?” asked Renate. 
“Of course not,” said Frau Edler. “But you see … we never got permission to be so near to the sea. There wasn’t time to get the extra paperwork done. So I think we should be a bit careful.”
“So, why didn’t you say when Mrs Williams suggested coming here?” asked Renate.
“Your mother could see you really needed some fresh air,” said Eva. “And with the two of us to prop you up …   Mrs Williams wouldn’t have had time to do that.”
Renate suddenly remembered that she had meant to like being English. If she didn’t they’d won, Herr Hitler and his lot. But could liking being English include breaking the rules sometimes? She remembered how Sergeant Clarkson had said that these particular rules were a bit daft. That was a good enough reason to like being English, wasn’t it?
And there were Mutti and Eva as well, being naughty, going to the seaside when they shouldn’t.

What was it like for Renate being at the seaside?
The whole of Renate’s school was evacuated together but the children lived with separate families. What were the advantages and disadvantages of this?
Note: German children were also sent from the big towns to the countryside. However they all lived together. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?       

Monday 16 October 2017

Living in London 1939-1945

Although Renate was tucked away in Minehead for much of the duration of World War II, she did spend some time with her mother in London. She was also constantly worried about her mother who was in danger of being bombed by the Allies.
What do these pictures tell you about what it was like?


They came just after dark, and somehow you could sense from the quick, bitter firing of the guns that there was to be no monkey business this night.
Shortly after the sirens wailed you could hear the Germans grinding overhead. In my room, with its black curtains drawn across the windows, you could feel the shake from the guns. You could hear the boom, crump, crump, crump, of heavy bombs at their work of tearing buildings apart. They were not too far away.
Half an hour after the firing started I gathered a couple of friends and went to a high, darkened balcony that gave us a view of a third of the entire circle of London. As we stepped out onto the balcony a vast inner excitement came over all of us-an excitement that had neither fear nor horror in it, because it was too full of awe.

And what Renate imagined:
It was screaming at her urgently now. She had to get out.
Where were Mutti and Eva? 
Already down in the shelter?
There wasn’t time. 
She would have to shelter under the table.
They were really close. 
They’re dropping the bombs now, she thought.