What If? Magazine - Run Like Jager
Reviewed by: Sarah Dowling
Kurt Schreiber is a grade twelve Canadian student on an exchange to the German town of Zethen, which was also his grandfather's home town before World War Two. He is there not only to learn Germany's culture, history, and language, but also to learn about his grandfather's life.
Peter, a fellow student, bullies Kurt and makes his life in Germany miserable. But Peter is only the beginning of Kurt's problems, especially when a particular remark sparks Kurt's interest in his grandfather's life in Germany. When Kurt manages to escape a beating, Peter says to him, "you are a coward. Just like your grandfather."
Kurt soon becomes plagued by nightmares in which he is a Nazi soldier killing civilians, so he decides that he must find out more about his grandfather's past. He hopes that knowing the truth of what happened will bring an end to his sleepless nights. Even though his grandfather refuses to talk about the past, and Peter's bullying is relentless, Kurt refuses to give up.
Run Like Jäger provides a different point of view from what I have normally read about World War Two. Usually I have read about the war from material created by those fighting against the Nazis (the Allies), and they always tell only of the horrible things the Nazis did. However, in this book the war stories are all told from a Nazi solider's point of view. I found that it was a very interesting experience, learning about what some Nazis may have gone through and done, all from their point of view.
The characters are very solid and have life-like personalities and reactions to their situations. The story is extremely well-written and manages to bridge current-day problems with past historical occurences. I would highly recommend reading this captivating book.