Be a hero, this book tells us. How? By living our daily
lives, however trying the times, and standing up to
bullies. Anita Ron Schorr relates her childhood in 1930s -
Family photos help to bring ANITA'S PIANO to life. Anita
attended school in Brno, a large town with a castle and
river. Her family played tennis and her mother cooked plum
dumplings, while her father worked in a family fabrics
business and relatives told stories of bygone days. Anita
enjoyed handcrafts but wanted to be a doctor. She and her
little brother loved playing the piano.
Life changed with the publication of the Nuremberg Laws,
after which in Germany Jewish people were taunted and
harmed by bullies with impunity. Anita's father was drafted
into the army, but she was told 'it couldn't happen here.'
Before long Anita's family had to surrender their house to
German officers, and Jewish children were suddenly not
welcome in school. By threatening bombing raids to reduce
Prague to rubble, Hitler persuaded the president to
surrender Czechoslovakia to his troops. Aged eleven in
1941, Anita joined her family in a ghetto, finding that not
all Jewish people survived the upheaval. Worse was yet to
Meeting kindness became extraordinary, such as when, aged
fourteen, Anita was doing hard physical labour and a guard
who had been a professor shared his sandwiches with her.
She fought back against oppression by surviving and now
speaks in schools against the culture of bullying.
Anita mentions the UNRRA; this was the United Nations
Relief and Rehabilitation Administration which looked after
displaced persons, but I thought the information should
have been on the page for young readers. I was surprised to
see Wikipedia quoted as the author's source on WWII. The
information on the architecture and fabric trade of
Czechoslovakia also seemed a little heavy for children to
absorb, though fine for older readers. The rich recipes
such as poppy-seed torte are a great idea and make the book
more interactive as well as preserving Czech culture.
ANITA'S PIANO as told to Marion Stahl presents a harsh
contrast between the two halves of a child's life and
reminds us of the need to stand up for others. Young adults
and adults alike can learn a lot from this book.
A book young ones will not forget. Anita has a beautiful
life where playing the piano and music surrounds her. Her
family lives in Brno, Czechoslovakia. She is nine years old
when her town is invaded by German military forces. She sees
her world slowly crumble.
As the family is displaced again and again, she tries to
come to terms with the horrible years that follow. An orphan
at age 15, she is left to fend for herself.
Awards: Anita has received many recognitions, including
'Movers and Shakers.' More recently, she was awarded the
'Exceptional Leader Award' by Senator Richard Blumenthal,
the 'Distinguished Community Leadership Award' by Governor
Nancy Wyman, and the State of Connecticut General Assembly
Official Citation. These recognitions were celebrated during
the ADL Centennial Gala.