I almost hate to make this statement, but I like Holocaust literature. Now, I’m not talking Mein Kampf or anything that glorifies the atrocities of Hitler and his Nazi goons. I’m talking stories of heroism and survival like Night by Elie Wiesel, Ashes by Kathryn Lasky, Number the Stars by Lois Lowery, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Now add to that list The Klipfish Code by Mary Casonova.
I’m not a big history person, so it often amazes me just how many places and people were directly impacted by Hitler’s desire to create a perfect race. The Klipfish Code tells to story of Hitler’s invasion of Norway. Marit Gunderson, her brother Lars, and their parents are all jolted from their dreams and from their lives when bombs start raining down on Isfjorden in the middle of the night of April 9, 1940. After the bombing ends, Marit’s parents decide to send Marit and Lars the island of Godoy to live with Bestefar, their grandfather, and Aunt Ingeborg, while they remain behind to help with the resistance efforts. Marit is crushed not only because she wants to stay with her parents, but also because she and Bestefar do not get along.
Once on the island, things continually get worse. The Nazis come to the farm weekly to collect their “donations” of milk, eggs, and produce; they confiscate all the families’ blankets for the soldiers to use; and they demand that all radios be turned over to the soldiers. Marit admires her Aunt Ingbeborg who teaches at the local school but refuses to give in to the Nazi’s demands to teach the Nazi Philosophy, but she is angered at her grandfather who seems to give in to any demand that the Germans make.When her aunt is taken from school by German soldiers, Marit fears she will never see her again, but she is also more determined to find a way to help the resistance. She gets her chance when she stumbles across an injured Resistance soldier in the mountains one afternoon. She wants to save him and help him complete his mission, but will it put her whole family at risk?
The Klipfish Code follows Marit over a period of five years. While Marit’s family faced hardships because of the Germans, until her aunt is taken by the soldiers, they are not directly threatened. The Germans hoped that Norway would move over to their side, and it only took two months for the Norwegian army to be defeated, but they were not expecting the resistance by ordinary citizens. As with all the other Holocaust literature I have read, I am always amazed at the strength and endurance of those who found themselves under Nazi domination. According to the author’s note at the end of the book, all the major details of this story come from the life of a personal friend who grew up in Nazi-occupied Norway.
The author, Mary Casanova, writes primarily middle grade novels and picture book. For more information about the author or any of her books, visit www.marycasanova.com.