But their lives took radically different courses: Helen's to the Auschwitz extermination camp; Alfons to a high rank in the Hitler Yout She was a young German Jew. But their lives took radically different courses: Helen's to the Auschwitz extermination camp; Alfons to a high rank in the Hitler Youth. While Helen was hiding in Amsterdam, Alfons was a fanatic believer in Hitler's "master race. This book tells both of their stories, side-by-side, in an overwhelming account of the nightmare that was WWII.
The riveting stories of these two remarkable people must stand as a powerful lesson to us all. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published March by Aladdin first published June 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Parallel Journeys , please sign up.
See 2 questions about Parallel Journeys…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Shelves: nonfiction , teen-ya , war. If you follow my reviews, you probably know that I lack in my history education. However, I have been fascinated and appalled by the history of World War II since I was a young girl and my grandfather would tell me stories of his time on the front and as a POW.
The way that Hitler manipulated and brainwashed such a huge population of young people is terrifying.
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I had not realized the cult-ness of Nazism until reading those books. I always thought it was just a bunch of evil people; never did it occur to me that good people were talked into doing bad things. After hearing about my new historical knowledge, a friend of mine recommended this book and lent it to me. And the horrors that are found within this book takes my historical education of WWII and the Holocaust to a whole different level.
Eleanor Ayers brilliantly intertwines the two stories and chronologically takes us through their parallel journeys. If all books that taught history were as intelligently woven as this book, we would have no problem teaching our children history. View 1 comment.
Shelves: adult , non-fiction , true-stories , young-adult. This is a hard book to rate, so I think I am going to skip the rating and just review it. It was very fascinating and made me want to keep reading. But at the same time, it was very hard to get through because of the sheer bleakness portrayed. WWII was not a happy time for many peop This is a hard book to rate, so I think I am going to skip the rating and just review it.
WWII was not a happy time for many people in Europe, to put it mildly. The desperation and fear of these times for people like the Jews, and yet the exhilaration and thrilling excitement for followers of Hitler, particularly the Hitler Youth. It's just mind-blowing, really. Surprisingly, throughout most of the book, I felt a compassion and sympathy for Alfons. It is so sad that someone can be so brainwashed and blinded by the lies of the Enemy that they would blindly follow such a person as Hitler, and give their whole-hearted dedication to said person.
And, of course, Helen's story also broke my heart. I loved how the author included frequent snippets from both of the character's autobiographies. It lent a more personal aspect to the otherwise simple relaying of facts. Not recommended for anyone under the age of 15 or for sensitive persons. I was in tears numerous times just at the numbers. It was a very good and well written account, but definitely not something I would read again! View all 4 comments. As the title suggests, the author interweaves the writings of two young Germans who lived within miles of each other but had very different experiences of World War II.
Helen Waterford, a young Jewish mother, escaped Nazi Germany only to be captured in the Netherlands and sent to an extermination camp in Poland. Alfons Heck, only six years old when Hitler first came to power, became a high-ranking officer in the Hitler Youth. Many years after the war, Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck would meet i As the title suggests, the author interweaves the writings of two young Germans who lived within miles of each other but had very different experiences of World War II.
For ten years, they visited schools, synagogues and churches together to share their experiences of Nazi Germany. These lectures were not always well-received; Heck came under attack from American Neo-Nazi groups for dishonoring the memory of their hero Hitler. Helen encountered hostile Jewish audiences, who felt that her association with Heck an admitted former Hitler Youth fanatic dishonored the memories of those murdered during the Holocaust. They could not understand why she did not hate all Germans and asked her what did she expect to gain by not hating them.
How could she forgive them? To this, she responded that she had not forgiven anyone for the crimes committed against the Jewish people. She did not believe that it was up to her to forgive, that if it were possible it "would be up to the six million who were murdered. I want to build peace not feed the flames of never ending destruction" Their shared goal was to speak for those who had died and to warn that what happened in Germany could happen in any nation "where people hate those who are different.
This background information is intended to contextualize her subjects' experience and clarify the firsthand accounts of the author's two subjects. Unfortunately, the transitions between background information and eye witness accounts are not always smooth. In some places, the various narrative voices, i. Elizabeth Ayer, Helen Waterford, and Alfons Heck become indistinguishable, making it difficult to know who is speaking.
In other places, the author's voice feels intrusive, interrupting Heck and Waterford's powerful firsthand accounts with unnecessary commentary. For this reason, I have given this book a 4, rather than a 5. Apr 06, Ezra rated it it was amazing. Who has read this book? I'm truthfully suprised our teachers dont have it on the books for the year. I love Night but this book beats it by the history, dates, pictures and real diary pieces from the two protagonists during their lives in the holocaust.
I have read this book about 3 times and it is just on of those books where you find new ideas each read. Parallel Jouneys basically describes the book but even so here is more. Alfred Heck, a high Nazi Youth at the age 15 and Helen Waterford, a Jew are living both through the time of the Holocaust, obvioulsy one effected more negatively than the other. They both have to learn how to survive either allown or watched by the Nazi.
Though they never meet, they both go through horrifying life experiences that make you wonder how a world was blinded by all of this. My favorite quote in fact is this: "There are none so blind as those who will not see"-old english proverb. This basically sums up that fact the the horrors concerning the world can only be as bad as those who make believe they are not there. I love this quote and believe that all should strive to do the opposite.
I encourage us youths to read this book for enlightenment and to also be ahead of the game in Global Studies : The world is too big for just one type of book, i recommend this book to the world who find history entriging and especially the holocaust. View 2 comments. Mar 13, Jessica rated it really liked it Shelves: book-club , non-fiction , popsugar-challenge.
What a wonderful book club discussion we had! My Top 5 Take-Homes: 1 Learn from history so we don't have to live through the horrors first hand. I'm thankful to eat as much food as I could ever want. I am immeasurably blessed to have all of my family with me every day, safe and sound. View all 3 comments. Apr 13, Tom rated it really liked it.
I picked this book up on a whim, thinking it would be yet another recounting of Germany during the war.
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This book illuminates the personal devastation that Hitler unleashed on the innocent people of Europe. The book, in alternating chapters, recounts the personal stories of two of those victims. One of them is Helen Waterford, a Jewish survivor of the concentration camps. Her story is in some sense predictable, because it has been told so many times in so many variants by so many survivors. Whil I picked this book up on a whim, thinking it would be yet another recounting of Germany during the war. While each story is unique, as is each life lost, the stories have been told so many times that I come to expect a certain sameness from them.
Helen, through the ghostwriter of this book, though, makes her story immediate and personally painful. No one should be allowed to ignore or forget the kind of abuse she suffered at the hands of her countrymen in Germany. The second victim, though, tells a story that to me was somewhat more troubling. The story of Alfons Heck, while not as tortured as Helen's, is really just as troubling. Here was a child brainwashed by the Nazis whose innate morality was perverted to the point that he admits that he would have committed any act demanded of him by the Nazis, without consideration or even knowledge of its depravity.
A lifetime of soul searching has left him angry at what was done to him. He does not feel that he deserves forgiveness, and does not ask for any; he only tells his story in the hope that some who hear it will understand, and take it upon themselves to do what they can to make sure that no one else is victimized as he was. The story of the relationship these two formed with each other in America is inspiring. It is easy to despair for humanity when reading stories like this, but these two offer hope.
In the aftermath of atrocities emanating from the worst aspects of the human psyche, Alfons and Helen show a way through by their friendship with each other. Still, though, the incident in the book that will stick with me is the one in which a seventeen year old American student asks Alfons with Helen sitting next to him if he would have shot Helen during the war had he been ordered to do so.
His truthful answer to that blunt question, his pained apology to Helen after giving it, and her response in turn to him, illustrate the extent of the journey traveled by these individual participants in the worst event of the troubled twentieth century. Oct 24, Valerie knight rated it it was amazing. Many students start learning about the holocaust in middle school and do a vast number of projects through out high school. Being one of those students, I was not very enthusiastic about reading Parallel Journeys for my Novel class. I knew it would be the same stories I've learned over and over.
I was obviously mistaken. Ayer does a fantastic job of taking the reader back to the beginning of the war in the late s to travel with Helen and Alfons throughout the war. My attitude quickly changed Many students start learning about the holocaust in middle school and do a vast number of projects through out high school. My attitude quickly changed toward this book as my mind was opened up by their stories.
Especially Alfons' story.
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Being a seventeen year old I haven't been exposed to many Nazis, mostly Jews like Anne Frank, so I learned a a whole new perspective. I am glad there are people like Helen and Alfons to speak out and teach us about our history even if it is the part of history we are not proud of.
I always love learning about characters in books and how things play out and this being first biography I read I was excited when I realized that there is more for me to learn. There are many survivors of the Holocaust and an endless amount I can learn about this part of our history. Weather you are a history person or not this book has a lot to offer and everyone should read it. Very interesting and engrossing book, following the experiences of Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck, both before, during, and after the war; quotations from both of them are used frequently throughout the book.
My one complaint is that it's not always instantly clear who is "speaking" in the quotations. View all 10 comments. This was an excellent book. It told the two separate stories of two people living in the same area during WW2 one Jewish, one German. I found his story to be extremely interesting and just the fact that they were basically brainwashed from such a young age and under such mind control from Hitler and his people is incre This was an excellent book.
I found his story to be extremely interesting and just the fact that they were basically brainwashed from such a young age and under such mind control from Hitler and his people is incredibly scary. The things that were endured on all sides of that war were horrific. I think this is a very important YA book about this subject and would recommend it to anyone to read. Mar 01, Alissa rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , book-club , world-war-2 , popsugar-reading-challenge. I am always sad and emotionally spent when I finish a book about World War 2. Such a senseless waste of human life and so much hatred.
This book gave a good overall summary of Germany's involvement in World War 2. It was also interesting in that it gave us one point of view from someone that was in the Hitler Youth. That is a perspective I haven't read much of and it gives me more insight into the fictional book, The Boy at the Top of the Mountain , which I read earlier this year that deals with I am always sad and emotionally spent when I finish a book about World War 2.
That is a perspective I haven't read much of and it gives me more insight into the fictional book, The Boy at the Top of the Mountain , which I read earlier this year that deals with a zealous youth devoted to Hitler. I really liked how it took both that perspective and the perspective of a Jew who survived Auschwitz and intertwined them using excerpts in their own words.
I also really liked learning about how they teamed up in the 's and lectured together. That was very interesting. Oct 28, Kelsey Wright rated it it was amazing. Helen was a Jewish girl who went into hiding in Amsterdam against the Nazis and Alfons was a German child who became a high ranking Nazi official during the time period in Germany. This book is great at giving information, feelings, and stories over the tragic incidents in Germany over The Holocaust and World War 2. If you are interested in the history of Germany during this time period then I would definitely recommend this book to you.
Although, if you are like me and are not too interested in history, then this book may not be that interesting to you. All together, this is an important time in history for everyone so it is definitely worth reading to get a good understanding of this time.
Parallel Journeys by Eleanor H. Ayer
Feb 02, Debbi rated it really liked it. A true story or stories as this is two people's journey through World War II. The first is a young man who grows up in a small village and like all German children he is brainwashed by Nazism and inducted into the Hitler Youth at years-old.
The other story starts with a young Jewish girl about the time Hitler starts his propaganda campaign against the Jews. The book goes back and forth between the two but stays current date wise as it goes from the early thirties when Hilter first rose to pow A true story or stories as this is two people's journey through World War II.
The book goes back and forth between the two but stays current date wise as it goes from the early thirties when Hilter first rose to power clear through the war and beyond. Very accurate and told a lot about the war that I did not know or had forgotten.
I didn't know that Germany invaded France so early in the war or that Hitler ordered his Hitler Youth to fight even after he had killed himself. Excellent book. Nov 06, Mickenzi rated it really liked it. Parallel Journeys was, at first, just another novel about the Holocaust that I have repeatedly learned about in school. And to be honest, I hated it in the beginning. But as I progressed further into the book, I realized that the two very opposite perspectives this story is told from makes it a phenomenal read. It was heartfelt, bitter, angry, and every other emotion in between.
I was surprised when I realized it took a different approach to teaching about the Holocaust. It took on a better one. I enjoyed this book very much and I recommend it to any history buff; there are a lot of solid facts. Apr 24, Jessica rated it did not like it. There isnt a negative rating I started off suspicious because sometimes she loans me books she's reading for a study or school or just fun and I don't totally trust her opinions sometimes but I picked it up and started reading it. If I had written a review at the beginning - or even in the middle - it wouldn't have been five stars. It would have been two because without the ending, the book would have been kind of on t Suggested to me by someone who heard I didn't like All The Light We Cannot See , and thought I'd like this.
It would have been two because without the ending, the book would have been kind of on the boring side. I feel bad saying a book written by people who actually lived through the horrible experience on both sides is boring, but it's because the fictional books are so realistic and based off of the real books that I don't totally enjoy the non-fiction anymore because that's what the fiction is copying so I've already heard the basics which is terrible but that's how it is.
However, there were some parts of Helen's perspective that I'd never realized, and the perspective was helpful even though most of it was what I'd already heard. I would say more on her perspective but I honestly don't remember much about it. It was Alfons' perspective that I was really interested in and that really helped me understand and sympathize with where they were coming from.
It's sad that kids even as young as 13 were forced to grow up so fast and that by the end of the war, it was really the 14, 15, 16 year olds who were in charge of hundreds of kids, that the German army was mostly wiped out by the end, so they were forced to fight the world as barely teenagers. It's sad that kids who had to grow up before their time, kids who should have been home preparing for adulthood were forced into the role and then, emerging from the war, were blamed for it all and that the major guilt heaped on them must have been crippling for some and that it was amazing how someone like Alfons could heal and actually write about it.
It seems incredibly sad that people who were brainwashed as kids, whose teachers were forcing this into their heads, whose parents had to agree with it or keep silent, that those kids who didn't have a choice, who were brainwashed and then sent out to fight the war for the adults, that they were the ones who were blamed, they were the ones that people looked down on, that people were furious with - these kids, who weren't even old enough to buy a car or go to college, these were the ones people were piling their anger onto.
That it's not surprising so many of them killed themselves instead of facing everyone, because everyone was saying it was their fault when who's fault was it really? Wasn't it Hitler's fault, and the people who were high up enough to realize what was going on? And instead, Hitler takes the easy way out by committing suicide, so that he gets out of bearing the brunt of everyone's anger and prejudice, and that instead of facing the music, he's a sissy and kills himself. But what about the people who wanted to live? Eventually, even while they were trying to heal mentally, people made them want to die, to envy those who had died, because the ones who died weren't so hated.
Anyway, the end of the story was really eye-opening, wayyy more than the rest of the book. Because agreeing with Hitler and looking at him as a god is not a very But this book doesn't make any bones about his being a Hitler fanatic and it's sad when he goes back to all the places he'd been as a Hitler Youth and suddenly he sees it through new eyes, eyes that weren't looking to Hitler as a god but instead were full of guilt and shame and that instead of being able to live life as a normal, everyday teenager, that he's instead burdened with the knowledge that nobody is on his side, no matter how sorry he is.
That even if he asks for their forgiveness, people don't think he deserves it. Download this eBook to discover why brands who don't understand the customer journey are risking falling down an engagement gap. Search Submit. Skip to content.
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