Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Publisher
Age Range
12+
ISBN
1932425845
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Treasure of Wickedness Profit Nothing
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
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0.0
What would you do if you were a seventeen year old German girl who found out that the apparel store your parents own (Riemenschneiders Fine Apparel) was originally called Heimann & Compagnie and was previously owned by two Jewish families? Furthermore, you found out that the Jewish families fled Germany during the Holocaust and they received virtually nothing for their store. What would you do?

Well Johanna is in that position. On a school trip to Israel, during which eight students interviewed eight former students of the Victoria School, all of whom are Jewish, Johanna learns that the Nazis essentially boycotted Jewish stores to force them into bankruptcy. Then stalwart Nazi supporters could buy out the Jewish owners at reduced prices. However, little of this money reached the Jewish owners. Meta Levin, nee Heimann, made it abundantly clear that the Nazis were swine and she would never set foot in Germany again.

The funny thing is that no one in Johannas family talked about how the store came into the family or what her Grandfather did during World War II. However, it becomes clear that her Grandfather was a Nazi and that, while he paid for the store, it was at a fraction of its worth.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie tackles the question of the obligations of first and second generation descendants of Nazi soldiers. They did not confiscate the property but certainly they live well off of the profits. In addition, Johanna inherits 250,000 marks when her grandfather commits suicide. Should some of that money go towards reparations? While the book also touches on other subjects such as Johannas desire to defer college for a year and volunteer in Israel and her feels towards Daniel, an on again/off again boyfriend, the crux of the book discusses a young girls realization that her grandfather, whom she loved dearly, may not have been the man she thought he was.

Told in current day and flashbacks, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie is a well written, intriguing book and, while not for everyone, it will appeal to readers who like a well written book on a controversial topic. Give it a go.
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