The true story of nineteen-year-old Jordana Lebowitz’s time at the trial of Oskar Groening, known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz", a man charged with being complicit in the deaths of more than 300,000 Jews. A granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Jordana was still not prepared for what she would see and hear. Listening to Groening’s testimony and to the Holocaust survivors who came to testify against him, Jordana felt the weight of being witness to history – a history that we need to remember now more than ever.
...Kacer is able to help the reader better understand the conflict with which both [Lebowitz and Groening] are struggling. Although no direct transcript of the testimony exists, Kacer's treatment of Groening's story is fair and even-keeled...
"To Look a Nazi in the Eye addresses topics such as prejudice, tolerance, the Holocaust, social justice, citizenship, as well demonstrating that young people can and do have a voice."
By the time readers reach the end of the book, they will realize as Jordana does that the trial wasn’t so much about justice for the millions of Jewish people who were murdered, but about sending a message worldwide that hatred will not go unchecked. That there are consequences.... That young people must listen to the lessons of history and take an active role in making this world a better place.
The fact that with each passing year, fewer and fewer survivors are alive to tell their stories makes this account important.... A stirring reminder of the importance of history and activism.
The book is filled with serious quandaries and issues but is also an exciting page-turner. Highly recommended for ages 14 and up.
With living survivors seen through the eyes of a contemporary teen, the Holocaust is made present... 72 years after the liberation of the death camps, this immediacy is vital.
Focussing on the real stories and feelings of real human beings who lived through the worst horrors imaginable, Kacer keeps the book both an engrossing read and a powerful messenger. Highly Recommended.
Kacer deftly handles the complex and tense dramatic nonfiction narrative and its layers of emotion… A must-have in a YA collection.