Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Good adventure book about the Danes in World War II

I'm sorry that To Fight in Silence by Eva-Lis Wuorio (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, c. 1973) is out of print. I haven't read it in years, but I remember it as a pretty good adventure tale, with some important history and a few good life lessons tossed in.

It revolves around a Norwegian boy and his Danish cousins, who get involved in the Danish underground. It's aimed at older kids or young adults, but I found it intriguing enough to read as an adult. Whether that was from the writing or the subject matter I can't remember (this was years ago that I read this book) -- but I did put it into my personal library to reread instead of putting it out on the store shelves, for whatever that's worth.

And, tah dah, since I just today found my copy in a box (we're still in the middle of a move), I can even share the front-flap jacket copy with you:

In April 1940 Germany attacks Norway and Denmark. The Norwegians fight back fiercely; the Danes submit and their country is immediately occupied by the Nazis. In Norway, Thor Ericksen, though too young to fight in the army, is old enough to drive a truck with wounded soldiers while German bombs fall from the sky. In Denmark, Thor's cousins, Karen Jensen and her younger brother Kristian, at first find life under the Germans much as it was before. But a Danish underground is formed, and Karen and Kristian find ways in which they, too, can serve the Resistance.

Thor joins his relatives in Denmark and, together with Karen and Kristian and many, many other Danes, becomes part of one of the proudest episodes in human history - a daring secret plan to prevent the Germans from deporting Danish Jews to concentration camps.

In this authentic story, Eva-Lis Wuorio conveys the atmosphere of life in Norway and Denmark during World War II. These dangerous years had moments of great poignancy, but they also had moments of joy and lively humor. After reading To Fight in Silence, boys and girls will know that this is a time to remember.

The back flap on the dust jacket touts another book by Eva-Lis Wuorio called Code: Polonaise, set in Poland in World War II. It also centers around children, in this case orphans who join up with the Polish Underground. I haven't read that one, but I'd like to.

Wuorio was born in Finland but grew up in Canada. In the Author's Note in To Fight in Silence, she says:

During World War II, I worked as a reporter on the Toronto Evening Telegram and interviewed literally hundreds of Norwegians who had escaped from their occupied homeland and were training as soldiers, sailors and airmen in Canada. I also talked to dozens of Danish officials who had come to North America to explain their country's predicament to the outside world. My mother kept a scrapbook of everything I wrote and I have found those clippings very useful. While traveling in the Scandinavian countries after the war, I learned to know and love them, and heard many stories of the war years.

When I began to write this book, I asked for help from the Press and Information Section of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from the War Museum in Copenhagen. I am grateful for their co-operation... Then my librarian found a book for me, Rescue in Denmark by Harold Flender, published in 1963 by W.H. Allen & Co., London, and Simon and Schuster, New York, and I was able to check my dates and information against this interesting, documented work about the escape of Denmark's Jews from Nazism...

I just checked, and Rescue in Denmark doesn't seem to be in print, either. Of course, you might be able to find a copy at your local library, and you can always search for used copies. To search at Barnes & Noble, go here: Out of Print, Used & Rare.

I haven't found very much on Eva-Lis Wuorio on the Internet, but while looking for more on her I ran across an extensive list of books about the Holocaust, for children through young adult, both fiction and nonfiction. It is provided by Northbrook Public Library, Northbrook, Illinois.


Bookworm said...

What a timely book to recall considering the Danish stand against the Islamic thought police.

English Professor said...

I found several copies of _To Fight in Silence_ at half.com. FYI

johng said...

KJ, there exists a large body of books about young people's lives before, during, and after WWII. There have been both factual works and fiction written about the youthful Resistance fight of boys and girls in every part of Europe.

The recent Boyington affair (U.of Wash.) offers a development which should alarm all. The recasting of WWII history is well along. Books such as that you mention become even more valuable.