86 pages 2 hours read

Alan Gratz


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2019

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Important Quotes

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“It was as though Uncle Otto had simply ceased to exist. The Nazis could do that: erase you from existence. The Germans had an expression for people disappearing at night into the fog of the Nazi political machine: Nacht und Nebel. Night and Fog.” 

(Chapters 2-3, Pages 16-17)

This quote reveals the power of the Nazis in pre-war Germany as they “erase” Dee’s uncle. The lack of signs of a struggle adds a sense of eeriness, as Otto disappears seemingly without a trace. The imagery of night and fog in the German saying evokes disorientation, confusion, and hostile conditions.

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“Would Sid care that Dee’s parents had disagreed with Hitler? Would Sid care that they had run away to America so Dee wouldn’t be brainwashed to hate everyone who wasn’t a ‘pure’ German? That Dee had been in America for almost his whole life, so long that he had lost any trace of his German accent?” 

(Chapters 2-3, Page 18)

This quote reveals Dee’s worries about himself as he considers Sid’s possible reaction to him if his friend knew about his heritage. Dee’s parents are here characterized as doing the best thing they could for their son, in contrast to some of Dee’s more ambivalent thoughts about his family’s escape to America. Dee’s reflection on his lack of a German accent suggest that he defines himself as an American.

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“And Dee liked the idea of this one being ‘Dee-Day.’ His day. It kind of was, after all. It was Dee’s day for atonement. The day he came back to Europe to undo what his family had allowed to happen eleven years ago.” 

(Chapters 2-3, Pages 20-21)

The language of this passage captures Dee’s feelings about the fact that he is a native-born German. The word “atonement” and Dee’s assessment of his parents “allowing” Nazism to take hold reveal that he believes, in part, that his family’s escape was dishonorable. His identification with the invasion’s nickname (D-Day) suggests that he personally identifies with the Ally mission because of his family’s history.