Last year, I recommended Trapped In Hitler’s Web by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, an author from our previous hometown. We enjoyed it so much, I nearly squealed out loud when I found another one of her books, Making Bombs for Hitler, at a thrift store shortly before we moved.
We just finished reading it, two chapters at a time, because no one was satisfied after just one. (Well, let’s be honest, two chapters wasn’t nearly enough either, but Mama’s voice can only hold out for so long!)
Making Bombs For Hitler was a little more graphic than Trapped In Hitler’s Web, and at one point, I almost put it away for the sake of our sensitive child. After reading ahead a little, I felt it was appropriate to keep going, and am thankful we did.
There are differing perspectives on this, but I don’t believe history should be “sanitized” for children. Age appropriate information? Yes. Eliminating harsh realities so we don’t have to wrestle through the consequences of sin? No.
(We don’t skip over uncomfortable parts of Scripture either. In order to see evil for what it is, we must have a standard of goodness to compare it to.)
There are a lot of ugly parts in Making Bombs for Hitler. When Lida is caught by the Nazis, she and her sister are separated, and she is forced to make bombs for Hitler that she knows are being used to kill her own people.
Lice-infested barracks, chemical cleaning powder that burns her skin, a daily ration of watery grey turnip soup, a single threadbare dress, and the constant dehumanization from weak little men in green add to her dismal reality. But, Lida’s mother taught her to look for beauty in every situation, so she does.
Her skillful embroidery around the edges of her identification badge saves her life, and her ability to find bits of loveliness in the most despicable conditions gives her the strength and hope to carry on and see the end of the war.
Making Bombs For Hitler is not a pleasant read. It uncovers a depth of human depravity not many people living in America have witnessed. This book was written so that children might understand what the full extent of tyranny looks like and recognize the warning signs.
Cancel culture is doing future generations a disservice in their attempt to obliterate the ugly parts of history from our memories. These are the parts that will be repeated if we do not learn from them. For this reason, I heartily recommend Making Bombs For Hitler to your library. Appropriate for ages 9+.