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Parallel Journeys

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,748 Ratings  ·  218 Reviews
She was a young German Jew. He was an ardent member of the Hitler Youth. This is the story of their pareallel journey through World War II. Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck were born just a few miles from each other in the German Rhineland. But their lives took radically different courses: Helen's to the Auschwitz extermination camp; Alfons to a high rank in the Hitler Yout ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published March 2000 by Aladdin (first published June 1st 1995)
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Jun 16, 2011 Kellee rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kellee by: Cristen Krugh
Shelves: teen-ya, nonfiction, war
If you follow my reviews, you probably know that I lack in my history education. However, I have been fascinated (and appalled) by the history of World War II since I was a young girl and my grandfather would tell me stories of his time on the front and as a POW. Throughout my life, I have read many novels about WWII, but it wasn't until last year when I read The Boy Who Dared and Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti that I began to learn about the other side ...more
Apr 06, 2009 Ezra rated it it was amazing
Who has read this book? I'm truthfully suprised our teachers dont have it on the books for the year. I love Night but this book beats it by the history, dates, pictures and real diary pieces from the two protagonists during their lives in the holocaust. I have read this book about 3 times and it is just on of those books where you find new ideas each read. Parallel Jouneys basically describes the book but even so here is more. Alfred Heck, a high Nazi Youth at the age 15 and Helen Waterford, a J ...more
When reading good juvenile Holocaust novels, I often include in my review "this would be great for classrooms". Realistically, a classroom cannot read 10 Holocaust novels. This novel, however, I honestly think should be required reading (instead of say, Anne Frank) for a few reasons.
1. It covers EVERYTHING during that period. It covers everyone from Josef Mengele, Claus Von Stauffenberg, Herschel Grynzpan and everything from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Nuremberg Trials and the Auschwitz Upri
Nov 13, 2008 Qt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and engrossing book, following the experiences of Helen Waterford and Alfons Heck, both before, during, and after the war; quotations from both of them are used frequently throughout the book. My one complaint is that it's not always instantly clear who is "speaking" in the quotations.
Valerie Dobbs
Nov 22, 2014 Valerie Dobbs rated it it was amazing
Many students start learning about the holocaust in middle school and do a vast number of projects through out high school. Being one of those students, I was not very enthusiastic about reading Parallel Journeys for my Novel class. I knew it would be the same stories I've learned over and over. I was obviously mistaken. Ayer does a fantastic job of taking the reader back to the beginning of the war in the late 1930s to travel with Helen and Alfons throughout the war. My attitude quickly changed ...more
Apr 13, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it
I picked this book up on a whim, thinking it would be yet another recounting of Germany during the war. This book illuminates the personal devastation that Hitler unleashed on the innocent people of Europe. The book, in alternating chapters, recounts the personal stories of two of those victims. One of them is Helen Waterford, a Jewish survivor of the concentration camps. Her story is in some sense predictable, because it has been told so many times in so many variants by so many survivors. Whil ...more
Kelsey W.
Nov 06, 2014 Kelsey W. rated it it was amazing
Parallel Journeys is a book about World War 2 where Eleanor Ayer gives a description about two different people during the time, Alfons Heck and Helen Waterford. Helen was a Jewish girl who went into hiding in Amsterdam against the Nazis and Alfons was a German child who became a high ranking Nazi official during the time period in Germany. This book is great at giving information, feelings, and stories over the tragic incidents in Germany over The Holocaust and World War 2. If you are intereste ...more
Feb 06, 2015 Debbi rated it really liked it
A true story or stories as this is two people's journey through World War II. The first is a young man who grows up in a small village and like all German children he is brainwashed by Nazism and inducted into the Hitler Youth at 10-years-old. The other story starts with a young Jewish girl about the time Hitler starts his propaganda campaign against the Jews. The book goes back and forth between the two but stays current date wise as it goes from the early thirties when Hilter first rose to pow ...more
Nov 06, 2014 Mickenzi rated it really liked it
Parallel Journeys was, at first, just another novel about the Holocaust that I have repeatedly learned about in school. And to be honest, I hated it in the beginning. But as I progressed further into the book, I realized that the two very opposite perspectives this story is told from makes it a phenomenal read. It was heartfelt, bitter, angry, and every other emotion in between. I was surprised when I realized it took a different approach to teaching about the Holocaust. It took on a better one. ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Jessica rated it did not like it
There isnt a negative rating...
Ryan Pomerenke
Nov 22, 2013 Ryan Pomerenke rated it really liked it
“Parallel Journeys” is a book that follows the extremely different lives of two Germans during Hitler’s rise to power and throughout World War II. Helen Waterford was a Jewish girl that was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1909. Alfons Heck was born in the German Rhineland in 1928. While Helen was hiding from the Nazis, Alfons became a proud member of the Hitler Youth when he was about 10 years old. This book covers the experiences that both had to go through during this terrible time.

The majority
I'm a middle school teacher moving to 7th grade next year, and I was given a pile of books that the 7th grade uses. This one was on top of the stack.

Parallel Journeys is a nonfiction account of Helen Waterford, a Jewish girl who survived Auschwitz, and Alfons Heck, a powerful member of Hitler Youth. The chapters alternate between Helen and Alfons. Interspersed between their chilling first-person diary entries is the well-researched chronicling of the events leading up to and through World War II
Sara Vah
Personally, this book didn't catch my attention. From the beginning I just wasn't al that interested, and yes, things did speed up and begin getting slightly entertaining at (approx) chapter 8 or so, but it still didnt hold my attention very well. Maybe I was just drown into the depths of the holocaust when I did a big 9 week project on Hitler Youth Leader Baldur Von Shirach, but even though, if it had kept my attention, it reached a depth of depression and just all around disappointment. Maybe ...more
Nov 06, 2014 Landen rated it really liked it
Parallel Journeys was unlike any other Holocaust piece of work I've ever read. I am usually used to the Jews sad, depressing stories of concentration camps but this book has the view point of Germans. I learned just how hard it was for the Germans to know exactly what was going on and how they had no choice but to follow orders of the Reich.
Shelby Myers
Nov 06, 2014 Shelby Myers rated it it was amazing
This book is a great read for anyone interested in World War II and about learning what it was like from both perspectives. Unlike most holocaust books this doesn't just offer the view from a holocaust survivor it also gives you the unique perspective of a young German boy in the Hitler Youth. For anyone who's interested in learning more about the Holocaust or interested in history this is a great book to read.
Brooke Robinson
Nov 07, 2014 Brooke Robinson rated it liked it
This book was okay, i didn't really learn anything new from the holocaust except for the Hitler youth perspective. I thought it was interesting how Helen and Alfons ended up meeting each other without realizing how close they were during the war.
Cassidy Wolfe
Nov 06, 2014 Cassidy Wolfe rated it really liked it
This World War II includes new information I have never heard before after spending months studying it. The story follows the actual war and the war against the Jews. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend interested in anything Holocaust related.
Nov 06, 2014 Sam rated it really liked it
Parallel Journeys is an excellent book! I found it very interesting how Eleanor Ayer wrote about both sides, the Jewish side and the Nazi side. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in World War II. I believe this book should be incorporated into the curriculum for history classes. While this book mostly made me sad and rather shocked about the facts, I enjoyed the book very much!
Nov 06, 2014 Audrey rated it it was ok
This book had interesting perspectives from both Jewish and Nazi sides of World War II. It was very informative. I would suggest it to read if you want to know more about World War II. The only reason I'm giving it two stars is because it is not my type of book and at times it was a bit of a bore.
Nov 06, 2014 Zach rated it really liked it
This was an informative book about the perspective of both a Jew and a nazi. There was a lot of info about WWII and the events that's occurred. Both character were interesting and I was entertained throughout the book
Nov 06, 2014 Holly rated it liked it
This book was alright. It contained a lot of information about World War II. I recommend this book to people who are interested in history. It was fascinating to see how World War II affected real people. It was also interesting to read from two different points of view. This book was not my preferred read, but I'm sure some people would like it.
Christina Klatt
Nov 07, 2014 Christina Klatt rated it liked it
This book wasn't all that interesting to me. However, it did have some interesting points and gave detailed information. I would suggest this book to anyone who wants to know more about The Holocaust.
Trey Elerick
Nov 06, 2014 Trey Elerick rated it really liked it
This was an Okay book. It had historical context and primary sources, which made it easier to understand and more interesting.
Tyler Caldwell
Nov 06, 2014 Tyler Caldwell rated it liked it
WWII is personally my favorite period in time to learn about. So this book ended up being very exciting. I guess.
Nov 10, 2014 Leah rated it it was ok
I didn't really like this book. I found it boring. It was hard for me to get through because i didn't like it. Some parts were interesting to read but others not so much.
Apr 03, 2016 Christina rated it really liked it
This is a late update, but I assigned this as one of the Holocaust memoir options, along with Diary of a Young Girl, Night, and In My Hands. This was a popular option, since it offers both a German Jew's perspective alongside that of a Hitler Youth, both of whom have done speaking engagements together for a decade in their adulthood. They are truly a testament to the power of forgiveness and grace.

While Ayer writes with a heavy hand, she presents Helen and Alfons's diary entries within their so
Mar 21, 2016 Madilyn rated it really liked it
8Y, Review 6, 3/18/2016

Suppose you want to read a book on the Holocaust, and you want to read about two people's perspectives of this horrid chapter in history. If that is what you are looking for, then Parallel Journeys, written by Eleanor Ayer and the said two perspectives in this Holocaust novel: Helen Waterford (a Jew) and Alfons Heck (who was a believer in Hitler). One of the literary devices that is somehow effective in this novel is how the tone matches the event. In other words, this boo
Miss Lilli
Aug 29, 2015 Miss Lilli rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended in a homeschool teachers' book (sorry I can't remember which, either Biblioplan or Well-Trained Mind). Anyway, I teach writing and I was looking for a book with two characters that my 4th to 8th grade students could compare and contrast. Parallel Journeys seemed promising until I got started. Don't get me wrong; it is a fantastic book. The book presents the events of World War II, as it bounces back and forth between two very different characters. I wonder whether my st ...more
May 18, 2015 michelle27001 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hayley Addison
May 07, 2015 Hayley Addison rated it liked it

Parallel Journeys

This story is about two people from the 1940's, one was a German-Jew and the other was in the Hitler Youth. It shows how they were living through World War ||, and what was happening to them. The main characters were Helen Waterford which is the German-Jew, and Alfons Heck, he was in the Hitler Youth. The plot development of this story is bad, it slowly progresses worse for Helen Waterford and fellow jewish people, "December 8: in a forest near Riga, the capital of what is now L
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Different Perspectives Of World War 2 1 4 Aug 12, 2012 02:16PM  
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