I picked up this little book titled T4 by Ann Clare Lezotte at a book sale a while back and finally got a chance to read it. I wanted to see if it was age appropriate for a student as I wasn’t sure of the actual content provided considering the subject matter. T4 is a fiction novel in verse and is based on the truth about the T4 program during WWII.
You can read my review below and see some information about the author as well…
Blurb: It is 1939. Paula Becker, thirteen years old and deaf, lives with her family in a rural German town. As rumors swirl of disabled children quietly disappearing, a priest comes to her family’s door with an offer to shield Paula from an uncertain fate. When the sanctuary he offers is fleeting, Paula needs to call upon all her strength to stay one step ahead of the Nazis.
The story follows a little deaf girl named Paula Becker who lives with her family in Germany. Due to the T4 program during WWII, she has no choice but to leave her home and family to hide at the age of 13. The story continues on with her journey in search of safety.
I noticed that some people were leaving negative reviews because they didn’t feel the book was poetic enough. I have to disagree. The book is told in free verse which isn’t meant to rhyme or have any specific rhythm. It’s meant to sound as though the person is speaking to you and that’s exactly what the format delivers.
I personally liked it. I think it’s really important for older kids to read this so that they will learn that the Holocaust didn’t just involve killing Jews. There were many others that were killed and this book exposes the terror of this dark time.
I especially enjoyed the author’s notes in the back as she explains where the names for the characters originated, info for further learning, and statistics. It’s a fairly quick read at around 108 pages.
I’m very happy to have this on my shelf. 4 Stars
About Tiergartenstrasse 4:
Under the T4 program set forth by Hitler, certain German physicians were authorized to select patients “deemed incurably sick, after most critical medical examination” and then they would administer to them what they called a “mercy death.” These patients were commonly disabled, had congenital defects, or had mental problems. Hitler judged them and stated that they were “unworthy of life.” Most were killed with lethal injection or were starved.
“The Nazis claimed the Disabled
were so miserable in their lives
That they didn’t care if they lived or died.
They pretended they were helping us.” – p24 of T4
The actions in the T4 program continued until the end of WWII in 1945. For every person that was killed, a falsified birth certificate was produced and given to the family with an urn of ashes. From 1940 through 1941 roughly 100,000 had been killed in the T4 program.
About the Author:
Ann Clare LeZotte is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and has had her poems published in the American Poetry Review, the New Republic, and the Threepenny Review. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, and is completely deaf.