1. Synopsis of “Stones from the River”
Trudi Montag was growing up during the World Wars in Burgdorf, Germany. She lived with her father, Leo, and helped him run their pay library. When she was young her mother, Gertrude, went insane, and died at the asylum. Trudi could remember how her mother used to run away, and after her father carried her home, he would lock her up in the attic, to try to prevent her from escaping again. She always did escape, and Trudi usually found her outside, hiding under the stairs. Trudi would spend time with her mother in the attic, or under the stairs. In the attic, the two would play with the paper dolls Leo gave his wife, and Gertrude would teach Trudi how to escape from the attic. Under the stairs, Gertrude told Trudi of her affair with her husband’s friend, Emil, and how she fell off his motorcycle one day, and skinned her knee. Her knee healed, but the stones could be felt beneath her skin if she let someone try to feel for them. That very same day Leo got shot in the knee in the First World War, and had to come home, and would forever walk with a limp. Gertrude blamed herself for her husband’s injury, just as Trudi blamed herself for her mother’s death.
Trudi was born a dwarf, a Zwerg, in German. Trudi felt that if she were a normal baby/child, then her mother would have never tried to run away. Trudi thought that it was her fault her mother went insane, and had to go to an asylum, where her mother died. Although Trudi’s father told her it was not her fault her mom died, she blamed herself anyway. Trudi and her dad became close, and would spend their time playing, reading, walking, or working in the library together. At the end of the book, Trudi felt a great lose when her dad died the day after his birthday. Ever since his friend Emil died, and Mrs. Abramowitz was taken away for being a Jew in WW II, Leo grew weak, and seemed to give up his will to live.
Trudi hated the fact that she was a dwarf, and began to hang from doorframes in attempt to stretch her body. She would also tie her mother’s scarves around her head to keep it from growing at night and pray everyday to grow. She asked the town doctor how to make her grow, and even drank some “magic potion” from a man who said it would make her grow. Trudi had no friends in school, and every child made fun o...
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...can prison camps, the
Americans kept their prisoners close to starvation, with only two bowls of soup per
day.” He said, “that the Americans said it was only fair because the Jews got even
less food in the KZs.” In short, American prisoners almost starved because the Jews did, so it was fair. Do you agree with this? Why?
7. Trudi and many others risked their lives hiding Jews in their houses. If you were
confronted with this situation, what would you do?
8. Frau Simon saved a little Jewish girl from being stoned by a group of boys. If you
witnessed the same thing, knowing that protecting Jews was against the law, would you have done the same as Frau Simon? Why?
4. Open ended questions continued
9. What are your feelings toward the Nazis? If you were confronted whether or not to
turn in your family members, as Helmut was, would you? Why?
10. After WW II had ended, many Germans said, “It’s not good to dwell on the things that were terrible.” “Nobody wants to relive those years. We have to go forward.” If
you were told this, would you agree or disagree? Would you want to talk of the War, or never hear of it again? Why?
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