Raise your hand if you knew about what refugees had to deal with towards the end of World War II. Scholastic generously sent over Traitors Among Us and it’s a fascinating read about post World War II Soviet occupied Germany. Read on for a full review of Traitors Among Us by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch!
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ABOUT TRAITORS AMONG US
World War II may be over. But two sisters are far from safe.
Sisters Krystia and Maria have been through the worst — or so they think. World War II ravaged their native Ukraine, but they both survived, and are now reunited in a displaced persons camp.
Then another girl accuses the sisters of being Hitler Girls — people who collaborated with the Nazis. Nothing could be further from the truth; during the horrors of the war, both sisters resisted the Nazis and everything they stood for. But the Soviets, who are now in charge, don’t listen to the sisters’ protests. Krystia and Maria are taken away and interrogated for crimes they never committed. Caught in a dangerous trap, the sisters must look to each other for strength and perseverance. Can they convince their captors that they’re innocent — or escape to safety before it’s too late?
The key to not repeating history is to ensure that all people including children have a clear understanding of what happened during World War II. What’s interesting about this particular World War II era novel, is that we see the situation from the perspective of displaced Ukrainians. In Traitors Among Us, the war has ended and Maria and Krystia have found themselves in an American Displaced Persons Camp. They are unsure where they will end up but know they have to stick together in order to be sent to their Aunt and Uncle in North America. Rather than being safe, they are accused of being spies and whisked off to a Soviet Camp and thrown in jail.
Traitors Among Us is a harrowing tale of the often overlooked war refugees that were stuck in Soviet areas. Often beaten and tortured, hundreds of people had no escape from the Soviets who considered anyone not supporting the Red Army to be the enemy. The two sisters find allies and plot a daring escape from the Soviets but are hampered by not knowing anyone and having to trust strangers for their survival.
For me, this was surprising aspect of World War II that I never knew about. Refugees who were just trying to survive and return to their war torn countries were subject to horrible treatment by the Soviets, which included brutality or being shipping off to labor camps and gulags. Children weren’t immune and we see the struggle for survival in a post war civilization through the eyes of two girls who have lost everything and everyone they love. The relationship between the sisters is compelling, however, their backstory isn’t fleshed out enough. For instance we know they were separated from their family but we don’t get much detail about what their lives were like before the war.
It’s definitely helpful to have some knowledge of World War II before reading this novel as it starts off post war in an American Displacement Camp which was infinitely different from the Soviet camps. Eventually the American military halted the process of letting Soviets take refugees and the author provides more context in the end notes. Traitors Among Us is a must read for children who wish to learn more about the people who were focused on putting their lives back together post WWII.