The Year of Goodbyes
By Debbie Levy
New York: Hyperion Books, 2010.
Pages 136. Grades 6 and up.
This is the true story of Jutta Salzberg, a twelve year old Jewish girl living in Nazi Germany in 1938. This is unlike other Holocaust memoirs or narratives as Jutta’s story is told through original writings in a poesiealbum. A poesiealbum was like an autograph book where young girls would draw, write poems and wish them well—it was much more serious than signing a yearbook. Debbie Levy, author, collected these pages from her mother’s last album in 1938.
These writings by Jutta’s friends are in their original state, with their English translations that open every free verse chapter. Each chapter tells the story of many goodbyes as Nazi Germans started a campaign to annihilate the Jewish people. The author does a great job, with her mother, telling the story of her escape from Germany to her final destination in America. At the back of the book is a photo album of Jutta’s family/friends, a timeline of events and concludes with the fate of the signers of the poesiealbum. A primary resource that can be used when teaching the Holocaust.