The Children of La Hille by Walter W. Reed
Eluding Nazi Capture during World War II (Modern Jewish History)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

His narration of the children’s escape and their camaraderie during this dreadful experience is as terrifying and wonderful as it is comprehensive and meticulous. He summoned the words to describe a chilling and courageous experience that remains largely unknown today.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Following the horrors of Kristallnacht in November of 1938, frightened parents were forced to find refuge for their children, far from the escalating anti-Jewish violence. To that end, a courageous group of Belgian women organized a desperate and highly dangerous rescue mission to usher nearly 1,000 children out of Germany and Austria. Of these children, ninety-three were placed on a freight train, traveling through the night away from their families and into the relative safety of Vichy France. Ranging in age from five to sixteen years, the children along with their protectors spent a harsh winter in an abandoned barn with little food before eventually finding shelter in the isolated Château de la Hille in southern France. While several of the youngest children were safely routed to the United States, those who remained continued to be hunted by Nazi soldiers until finally smuggled illegally across the Swiss Alps to safe houses. Remarkably, all but eleven of the original ninety-three children survived the war due to the unrelenting efforts of their protectors and their own resilience.

In The Children of La Hille, Reed narrates this stunning firsthand account of the amazing rescue and the countless heroic efforts of those who helped along the way. As one of the La Hille children, Reed recalls with poignant detail traveling from lice-infested, abandoned convents to stately homes in the foothills of the Pyrenees, always scrambling to keep one step ahead of the Nazis. Drawing upon survivor interviews, journals, and letters, Reed affectionately describes rousing afternoon swims in a nearby natural pond and lively renditions of Molière plays performed for an audience of local farmers. He tells of heart-stopping near misses as the Vichy police roundups intensified, forcing children to hide in the woods to escape capture. The Children of La Hille gives readers an intimate glimpse of a harrowing moment in history, paying tribute to ordinary people acting in extraordinary ways.

 

About Walter W. Reed

See more books from this Author
Walter W. Reed (originally Werner Rindsberg) grew up in a Bavarian village near Wurzburg and experienced Nazi persecution of Jews, including arrest as a fourteen-year-old on Kristallnacht. After immigrating to New York in 1941, he served as an American soldier from 1943 to 1946, and as an interrogator of German prisoners in General Patton s Third Army, starting after the liberation of Paris in 1944. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he pursued a forty-year career in public relations. Since 1998, he has been a frequent speaker about the Holocaust in the United States and in Europe.
 
Published November 19, 2015 by Syracuse University Press. 328 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Children of La Hille
All: 1 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 0

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Charles S. Weinblatt on Jan 05 2016

His narration of the children’s escape and their camaraderie during this dreadful experience is as terrifying and wonderful as it is comprehensive and meticulous. He summoned the words to describe a chilling and courageous experience that remains largely unknown today.

Read Full Review of The Children of La Hille: Elu... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for The Children of La Hille
89%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 14 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×