The Berlin Boxing Club Essay

The Berlin Boxing Club Essay

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Karl Stern is an artistic, lanky, beat up, Jewish fourteen year-old boy whose only refuge is drawing cartoons for his younger sister and himself. All that changes in an instant when he meets the boxer, Max Schmeling in his father’s art gallery. In exchange for a painting, Karl will receive lessons from the world renowned fighter and national German hero. Suddenly he has a purpose: train to become a boxing legend. As the years go by and he gets stronger, both physically and emotionally, so does the hatred for the Jews in Germany. This new generation of anti-Semitism starts when Karl gets expelled from school and grows until his family is forced to live in Mr. Stern’s gallery. Though the Stern’s have never set foot into a synagogue and do not consider themselves “Jewish”, they are still subjects to this kind of anti-Semitism. They try to make the best of it, but Karl can see how much it affects his family. His mother is getting moodier by the day, his sister, Hildy, hates herself because of her dark hair and “Jewish” nose and his father is printing illegal documents for some secret buyers. On Kristallnacht the gallery is broken into and the family is torn apart. Karl must now comfort his sister and search for his injured father and his mother. With the help of some of exceptional people, he manages to get over these many obstacles and make his way to America.
Throughout the book there were two ideas that kept reoccurring: Karl’s comics that he shared with his sister (“Winzig und Spatz”) and also when he realizes that all the people he knew were not who he thinks they were.
Winzig und Spatz was a book about a mouse and a sparrow that Karl and Hildy read as children. She started calling Karl, Spatz, and in turn Karl called her Winz...


... middle of paper ...


... have anything in connection to a boxing club. With his attention-catching first chapter, Sharenow was able to start his book by completely immersing us into it.
I really enjoyed this book because it was not a story about the middle of the Second World War. Instead it was right before, when things were not as bad, but they were bad enough. It helped me understand how people lived before the hatred grew and how families were torn apart right from the beginning. Likewise, it gave me hope to see that not everything was destroyed and that some people were able to escape. I would recommend this book more for boys but for girls as well, between the ages of 13-15. Even though Karl’s age throughout the book is 14-17, the novel was written more for my age group. Once again this was an amazing book that I could not put down, and I am sure many others were not able to either.

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