Great Grove Reads
Night Divided by Jennifer Nielson
It is 1961 and Gerta and her family live in Berlin. Her father has been trying to find work but has struggled finding anything in the city. Ever since WWII ended tensions have run high not only between Russia and the USA but in the city itself. Simple freedoms like being able to talk openly about the government have been prohibited. There was talk that people should leave; that things were only going to get worse. When Gerta’s father left the city to find work he was supposed to return in a day or two. But, on August 13, 1961 a wall was built in the middle of the city separating east and west Berlin. Suddenly Gerta,her mother, and brother Fritz were separated from her father and brother Dominic. Gerta’s father had been very outspoken about how oppressive life had become in Berlin. Now those actions were making life very difficult for Gerta and her family in the new city of East Berlin; guards are now watching them, their home has been wiretapped. Everyday on her way to school Gerta has to pass by the wall, which has increased in thickness and security everyday. On the west side of the wall a platform has been built where people from the west could climb to see if they could locate family that was left behind. One day Gerta sees her father. When he notices that she saw him he does a strange dance that ends by pretending to dig. For several days Gerta sees her father and he always does the same dance. What was he trying to tell her? Then one day she receives a mysterious drawing of a building. She is sure that she has seen it before. Gerta is certain that her father wants her to tunnel out of East Berlin but would he really ask that of her? No one can be trusted and being caught could mean death. This is a great historical fiction story that tells of an important part of history.
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