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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Final Journey (The)
by Gudrun Pausewang
Age Range: 12+
This was the first of Gudrun Pausewang’s novels about Jewish life under the Nazi
regime to appear in the UK. 11-year-old Alice has been in hiding for the last three
years, for fear she and her grandparents will be rounded up and transported to camps like her Jewish friends and relatives. When the soldiers finally come
for them, Alice must endure a long and terrible journey to the concentration
camp, together with a journey towards maturity, in which she discovers
the truth about her parents, about the elaborate subterfuge with which her
grandfather has tried to shield her from reality, the compassion, courage and
inhumanity of others who are competing for their very existence, and her own
capacity for these qualities.
Winner of the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation in 1999, Gudrun Pausewang’s short novel protects readers from nothing, neither the confusion of emotions among the prisoners nor the appalling indignity of the situation, in which love, life and death all happen in fear and squalor, nor the final terrible outcome. Compelling and deeply moving.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)