Book Review | T4
by Ann Clare LeZotte

Score: 4

My extraordinary and learned colleagues on the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee have said to me this book “is not Jewish enough.” There is not enough Jewish content to make it eligible for the Sydney Taylor Book Award. My response, as always, is, “Does it matter?”

The unspeakable crimes of the Nazis extended beyond the Jews.  I believe our children should know about that. Hitler singled out the Jews for extinction, yes, but he also singled out anyone who did not fit his concept of “ideal” or “perfect” – gypsy, homosexual, disabled, etc. T4 or Action T4 refers to the order that Hitler wrote on his personal stationery allowing German physicians to provide euthansia to “patients considered incurable.”  T4 or Tiergartenstrasse 4 also refers to the address of the Nazi headquarters of the General Foundation for Welfare and Institutional Care, the body that oversaw this order.

This engaging and educational book, written in free verse, is the story of a deaf girl who is sent away by her family so that she might be saved from “elimination” for being less than perfect. During her journey, she discovers others who are also fleeing the Nazi indictment – Jews among them. She writes: “I realized/I wasn’t the only one/Who was hated.” (p.66) Shouldn’t our children learn the same thing? For that reason alone I encourage you to have this book on your shelves.

Yes, there are probably enough Holocaust books on your shelves already. But this is a powerful, well-written, excellent addition to any collection that adds a different perspective to this broad topic.

I highly recommend this book for all Jewish libraries.

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