"Jacob's Coat" by Eva Weaver

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Mika is proud. With his mother Halina and grandfather Jacob Hernsteyn, affectionately called “tatus” (Papa) called the shrewd, inquisitive boy lives in Warsaw, the “flourishing center of Jewish culture.” (His father died in 1929, when he was three years old.)

In September 1939, everything changes. The Wehrmacht rolled over Poland, and the occupiers begin with “precision and power” their work of destruction against anything they deem “unworthy”. First prohibitions and regulations follow stricter measures. Mika can no longer attend school, Tatus loses his professorship at the university.

The prescribed armbands with the Star of David and new “identity cards” with a capital “J” brand the victims of oppression. In the summer of 1940, they have to leave their homes to be resettled with four hundred thousand people in a tiny “Jewish residential district”. Thanks Tatus’ relations with the “Judenrat” the three people get a two-room apartment with a small workshop.

tatus is the gentleness personified. But when German soldiers forcing a woman to strip naked, their humiliation exceeds the amount which he can bear.

He puts the destitute protecting his big wool coat to – and have to pay with his life. Mika and his mother do it with difficulty, to bring the coat to safety. For his numerous pockets pose Tatus’ treasures – pipe, glasses, a book of poetry, sticky candy, fountain pen, a piece of rabbit fur, letters, a small violin with bow. The main object is sewn into the hem: A little key opens the secret door Mika to Tatus’ refuge, his workshop.

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Here Tatus had lived, in the midst of self-made puppets with Pappmachéköpfen in various stages of completion. Here are glue and paint, there are wooden slats and wire ready, and next needle and thread to wait half-finished fabric scraps and items on their inspiration.

Mika takes a liking to the little world that has created his grandfather. In the cramped apartment that houses the meantime two other families and their children, he gives his first performance. Then he dares to the orphanage and the hospital where the TB patients to the bitter end to languish. Everywhere it shine against the happy eyes of children who can forget for a moment hunger, disease and death. Soon he was asked to play at birthdays, and finally he is known throughout the ghetto, the “puppet of Warsaw”.

An unfortunate coincidence drives Mika into the hands of Max, a Wehrmacht soldier who him his troops accommodation drags. “Devil’s Den” is full of drunken, bawling “rats” of the kind that had killed his grandfather. Ironically, here the boy should contribute the week with his dolls to general amusement once. Nobody in the ghetto, not even the mother, may know about it, and so Mika leads a double life: He. “Entertained children, but he fed and the monster that they would all swallow”

The dilemma plaguing him with nightmares and drives him: to fight his vision that “rats” to take concrete form, and he joins the resistance fighters. Under his coat hiding, he brings young children to the other side of the wall, where they are in Polish families to safety. Later, he smuggled weapons and explosives, and ranks third armed uprising (April / May 1943) part.

Where Mika is truly not a courageous hero. He knows that he plays for his life, because once Crappy more about his puppet, he will have nothing to laugh more. But as “Nazi entertainers” he is a “coward” and “liar” and like its mirror image no longer look to the eyes. Shame and anger burden him at least as much as the constant fear. In the streets he encounters the many hungry orphans, he sees corpses and those in power, the beasts, which no one can escape, and which no one opposes. Mika can not understand that there is beyond the wall a colorful, normal life that people live there who do not seem to realize that this side of hell burns on earth. His coat, where he feels safe, and his puppets, always talk to him when leaving him the courage to give it the outer and inner strength endure.

The second part of the novel ( ” the journey of the Prince “) describes the events after the liberation of Warsaw in January 1945. Now, the Old Testament is considered” an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, “and it will be discussed the question of guilt. Which debt contributed “Follow the Leader”, “complicity”, “order takers”?

The to inflame sentiment, now sits crammed with other POWs of the Red army in the freight cars, the Jews had brought to the systematic extermination of Treblinka recently. Who does not croak on the day-long ride and survive the march to the Gulag, the expected privation years in relentless labor camps.

What appears a chance, Max succeeds: He escapes from captivity and makes his way until he had three years later his family again looks at Nuremberg. he has his son Karl brought over all the way a gift, now dirty and unsightly: It is the prince, Mika’s favorite hand puppet With this figure in the luggage Charles’ daughter Mara will fly to New York in 2009.. There the circle of the background story closes at the bedside of terminally ill 83-year-old Mika.

Having survived the ghetto, Mika laced his belongings and all its painful memories in a brown cardboard box, where they remain hidden forever should. In 1948 he arrived by ship to Ellis Iceland, determined never to tell anyone and from the dark time. But in 2009 makes him an unexpected event during a walk with his thirteen-year-old grandson Daniel rethink: “I want to tell you the truth as it was in the ghetto … you … your mother and … all over the world “.

Daniel should open the package that the years rested unnoticed in the wardrobe. A sharp, penetrating odor proposes to meet them. Then is before their eyes the threadbare black coat with all its secret pockets that had worn the “puppeteers of Warsaw” once.

Eva Weaver portrays life in the Warsaw Ghetto vivid and realistic. Mika’s first-person perspective (in the first of three parts) maximizes the identification. Although we adults know the historical facts and the brutal inevitability of fate, we cheer on and cling to the hope that Mika, like his mother, his Aunt Cara and Elli, his first love survive. “The Puppet Boy of Warsaw” at involved a fictional story time story reaches more readers than textbooks on the subject, and perhaps fictional portrayals remain insistent in memory as non-fiction. In this respect “Jacob’s Coat” is recommended as a good reading for young people.

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"Jacob's Coat" by Eva Weaver. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/jacobs-coat-of-eva-weaver-my-review/

"Jacob's Coat" by Eva Weaver
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