Brave Deeds: How One Family Saved Many From the Nazi’s

Brave Deeds:  How One Family Saved Many From the Nazi’s

By Ann Alma

Berkley: Groundwood Books, 2008.

Grades 5 and Up. 93pages

I am truly a junkie for Holocaust and World War II  Books–historical fiction and/or non-fiction.  This was a quick read that would be appropriate for younger students.  It does not have all the horror of concentration camps but tells a story of a child who was displaced but not deprived of his human rights.

This is a great little biographical fiction novel written by Ann Alma.  Frans and Mies Braal, lived in Holland; were part of the Dutch Resistance Movement.  Frans worked for the water department which was one of the few jobs not eliminated by the Nazis when they took over Rotterdam; this meant that he would at least be able to provide for his family. He provided well for his family and for many others.

Frans joined the resistance movement and served in many ways.  One such way was by hiding people that the Nazi’s were looking for—Jews, government officials, children and war prisoners.  The story tells of raids, hiding places and the compassion of a family who by the end of the war had hid several hundred people. The Braals risked their own lives every day often times for total strangers–their “brave deeds” saved hundreds from sure torture or death. This story has black and white Braal family photos which enhance the story and make it real.

The author’s neighbor was Mies Braal, who shared her story and those who were under her care.  All the people in the book really existed except for the narrator to whom Alma gives a young voice to.


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