Friday, May 2, 2014

Defy The Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn

In the midst of war, one teenager is determined to make a difference. If no one will do anything, she'll have to do it herself. In 1941 France is still "free." But fifteen-year-old Magali is frustrated by the cruel irony of pretending life is normal when food is rationed, new clothes are a rarity, and most of her friends are refugees. And now the government is actually helping the Nazis. Someone has got to do something, but it seems like no one has the guts—until Paquerette arrives. Smuggling refugee children is Paquerette's job. And she asks Magali to help. Working with Paquerette is scary and exhausting, but Magali never doubts that it is the right thing to do. Until her brash actions put those she loves in danger.

Historical background of the story: (sent from the author)

- When France was conquered by Germany in 1940, it was divided into two halves: the "occupied zone" in the north, where German troops were in charge, and the "free zone" in the south, where there was still a French government.

- My apologies for the phrase "In 1941 France is still 'free'" in the book description; it's not quite right. This was my fault & due to a miscommunication between me & Kregel; it was the "free zone" that I meant to describe as "still 'free'." France was conquered and the northern half of France was clearly not free.

- Magali lives in the "free zone," and the camps she travels to are also in the free zone.

- The French government in charge of the free zone was known as the Vichy government (and the free zone is also known nowadays as Vichy France.) This government collaborated with the Germans and was under pressure from them but it did have some freedom and did some evil things on its own as well--because it was also racist in itself, believing that Jews and other foreigners were bad for France.

- The internment camps in the free zone were set up and run by the Vichy government; this was their own idea. The Nazis were not in charge of this, though they must have approved. It was also the Vichy government that allowed aid workers into the camps and released children, because in its early stages it wanted to appear humane and/or there may have been some people in that government who still had some heart. 

- In the summer of 1942 (not long after the book ends) all the internees in the camps who were Jewish were given over to Germany at Hitler's demand and got sent to the death camps in Germany and Poland. The Vichy government also cooperated with the Nazis after that in arresting other Jewish people in France. The camps in France became transit camps, way-stations where people who had been arrested would be locked up for a brief time on their way to concentration camps in Germany and Poland. (There will be more about this in--Lord willing!--the third book in the series.)

 "the internment camps (or maybe "detention camps") in Vichy France from which Jewish people were sent to the death camps later in the war."


No comments: