Kansasliberal asked:

Do we know why Frederick was so pushed by his family to attend the Nazis school where he obviously did not belong?

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Kim My mother was in Hitler's Youth. It was not optional. Not doing so would bring harm/death to your family/self. Knowing what I do abouit Berlin and the accounts my mother has shared with me, I always say the first country Hitler invaded was Germay.
Nick Loeser I think it helped illustrate the point that the war left no one undamaged. Not even those citizens that were apart of the "preferred race" of people.

Frederick never really actively participated in the war, but became a victim of hitler's germany.
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Linda I feel that Frederick 's parents sent him to the school to protect him, as crazy as that sounds, because he was not a tough guy, but a sensitive soul. He would surely have had to serve in some way, that was the mindset of the Hitler Youth program. But I think that the person's comment on the fact that the first country that Hitler invaded was Germany is so true. They were indoctrinated and brainwashed first by Hitler, not that this excuses the things that occurred during that war, but many Germans were innocents carried by that wave. I feel like the essence of the book is that, we in life, can be carried by a "gust of wind" or "ripple of water" before we know that it is consuming us... changing us...
Suzanne I am only half way through the book, but so far what I am getting out of Frederick's character is that he is the only true leader among the throng of leader's in training.
Zeke Although there was some element of "They had to send him" the story made me feel like he was sent as a matter of pride. I think the mother's general attitude and what she said about her neighbor (the "Jewess") came off like she was actively involved in the Nazi party somehow.

But maybe I read too much into that.
Conrad I believe it was because the alternative would have ultimately been induction into the armed forces as an enlistee and probably deployment to the Eastern Front in Russia - which meant a good probability of deprivation and death. By attending the school it was hoped that he might find a 'safe' place in the Nazi war machine.
Barbara I just fiished the book. What I understood is that Frederick's parents were prideful and wanted to move up. His father was an official and it looked good for his son to be admitted to the prestigious school. Frederick was just a humble, sweet kid who would do whatever his parents wanted. And there's a statement near the end that makes it sound like his mother new it was wrong to send him and now had some regrets.
Suedvonh During the Nazi era,the families of young men and women (children, really) were expected to send their children to Nazi schools and camps - not to do so would arouse the interest of the SS - not a good thing,
Katie This thread is frustrating because many people are conflating Hitler Youth (the Nazi Party's youth organization) with the National Political Institutes of Education. The latter were boarding schools for the elite and difficult to gain admittance to.
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Laurie Hanan The mother couldn't wait for the Jewess upstairs to be gone so she could move into the bigger, better apartment. Which she did. This in itself shows something of her character.
Phyllis His parents were into status. They knew of his poor vision and his interests in nature and tried to cover both things up. By helping him cheat on the eye exam and providing him with prescription binoculars they set him up for failure. They seem bent on "making a man" of him. His father is absent and his mother is all about status. Not a high functioning family and integrity was not one of the parents' values. Of course, a boy Fredrick's age was stuck and would be required to participant in military training at some point. This was the high status option and would give the parents bragging rights.
Becky Ethington It was mandatory, I believe. This was the time of Hitler's youth and the total control of the Reich. Kids didn't really get to volunteer; if they didn't they were volunteered. Also, Frederick's family were wealthy and therefore noticed. People would have noticed if Frederick weren't doing his part.
Theresadaum I thought about that, too. I think his mother simply told him that was what he was going to do and he was the type boy who just did what he was told. What were his options anyway? He thought his father to be successful and thought following in his footsteps was the "right" thing to do. Maybe he thought he would get it over with, be an adult and then his life would be his own. Thus the statement "my life is not my own".
Mary I think his family was proud of having their son attend the school. He brought honor and prestige to the family, and it implied that Frederick's attendance showed the elevated social status of his parents
Sherry I Branka
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Mark Ivory Individualism was not an option in Hitler Germany. High ranked officers of the third Reich would have kept in step with the group think and assured their children were part of the Hitler youth.
Tom His family seemed proud to have him selected for the special "school". He did not have a choice, parents guided him into joining/attending.
Janice Kohl Familial structure had been destroyed with the difficulties the German people were in and the government was seen as the answer to the problems of the complete breakdown of society. The parent's sense of right and wrong was crushed under the pressure of starving and not being able to clothe their children. They had handed their responsibilities away long ago. In general, the people had lost any sense of what was "right". But not every individual and Frederick was one of these.

If you would like to read about the German people living in the country of Germany, try Yonder The Bridge by Eve Berck.
Lindsay His father was in the army, a sergeant or something like that is briefly mentioned during his and Werner's trip to Berlin.
Shelley I'm not quite finished reading but thinking: his poor eyesight would have kept Frederick out of the Nazi school (if he - with the help of his family - memorized) -- correct? Would it have kept him out of serving in the military? I'm hoping not, for if it would have kept him from serving, I want to think his family would have helped him. I agree with others, pride/shame must have been the catalyst for Frederick &/or family...
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Jessica Because his family was so wealthy and well off and because his Mother was a huge supporter of the Reich, I think they would have felt like he was an absolute failure and they were frauds if he didn't make it. His eyesight would have been no valid excuse to her friends.
Juanita Carlson I thought that It was a matter of family pride. The mother and the father were very much into the "glory" of the Reich...they were wealthy, had connections and the "prestige" of having a son attend the "elite" school of the Reich's future was an "honor." He was obligated to accept regardless of his hidden blindness.
Cathy Sargent Thank you for these questions. It got me thinking about: 1 How sneaky the Germans were 2. How people would disappear out of the blue with no warning 3. Not joining Hitler's Youth = harm and death to your family 4. So that is what happened to Frederick and why although nearly blind since birth was pushed to attend Nazii school and when he left..neither he nor his parents were mentioned again. Maybe they were killed.
Linda What actually happened to the precious stone at the end of the story? What did the key represent?
Kathleen To please his father.
Kelly Butcher I think Fredrick's father was a military man- when we go back to his family in the future, his mom is a widow. She feels that she and other widows of wartime are seen as co-conspirators in the war- so I assumed that his father was a war criminal-- that would explain of course why Fredrick had to go to that school.
Kumari de Silva they didn't do him any favors by putting him in that position with his poor eyesight, but they did appear to be nazi sympathizers, the comments over dinner were horrifying.
Fyr Nordsen to escape working in the mine. No one pushed him, however.
Josephine Briggs Being in this school would bring honor to his family. Frederick was a sensitive boy and didn't belong in such a school. His father was honored that his son was chosen.
Josephine Briggs He would be able to do well in life if he joined. It is sad because he was such a good kid who loved nature and birds and should never have to be involved with cruel people.
Alan Frederick's father never appears in the novel. But I got the sense that his father wants him to be a leader, tough guy, and prominent figure in the Reich. He doesn't understand or appreciate his son's sensitivity or moral character. The mother is weak, ineffectual, and delusional (and also greedy, ready to jump on the upstairs apartment as soon as the old Jewess is taken). She loves her son but can't stand up to her husband.
Tina Although it may not have been optional if you were selected, it seems that his family went out of their way to ensure that he would be selected- his mother trained him on being able to see without his glasses for one thing. I believe it was a prestige thing. The fact that the mother was surrounded by sycophants probably made her even more pretentious. For her, it was a matter of status and offered her bragging rights. She could boast that her son had gotten in and be further envied by her peers.
Marianne His parents hope it would keep him safe to be in an elite school. Kim is correct -- it was not optional if parents wanted their boys to survive.
Lynn LeRoy In war only the ones who start it have free will to choose. So sad!
Patse Ellington Would protect the whole family as if they were doing their job.
Marianne Stewart It was an elite school - difficult to get into. Having a son admitted would bring prestige to the family, and imply the "purity" of the family's German blood.
Lillian Back so honest, so thoughtful...no rationalizing by ela... i wonder if "now" ela has seen a change in the attitude of people living in that area--in how they weave the narrative of that war, of how hitler got the support of the people that is, in contrast to the "textbook" analysis of germany's "shame" of wwi defeat and the economy
Karen • The Book Return I think because he would have to have participated in the movement in someway (Hitler youth) and his parents thought this was the best option. Actually, I believe, there was a similar storyline in the 'Book Thief' and there was consequences for not making the 'correct' choices.
Marcia They were Nazis through and through and really believed the propaganda.
candee t smith Frederick may have been strongly induced to apply to this school for the children of elite military and children with prowess in a Hitler perceived strength. This was not available to the many youth that were part of the mandatory Hitler Youth Program.
In my mind, Frederick was the student with the most strength of character. He had more courage than any of his fellows that fell in line, even if they gave up a piece of themselves to do it.
April It wasn't a choice.
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Kopa all the light we cannot see
Jill Collen His father was some kind of government official. Frederick was a bit of a wimp,so his father would certainly have wanted him to succeed as the sort of manly ideal of the Reich. And Frederick must have wanted that too - as he could certainly have flunked out of the entrance testing just by letting his bad eyesight be known.
Lebowa Thobejane I just bought this book. i cannot wait to start reading it.
Sharon Foust His family had wealth, obvious from when he took his friend home for the visit. It was expected of him to be in the Hitler Youth, no matter what his personal feelings or talents. He was naturalist in the vein of Audubon or even Darwin. He loved watching the birds and learning about them. He did not belong there at that Nazi School, so obviously it was expected of him.
Steve Middendorf Because he was poor as a church mouse. Because the alternative was working in the coal mine? Because the Nazi's were the popular group at the time and you know where 2nd place got you with that group?
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by Anthony Doerr (Goodreads Author)
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