Before the war started Hannah, the youngest daughter in the family, was well on her way to become a famous concert pianist. She was also living the life of an average fifteen-year-old girl and about to experience her first date and dance. But for her and her family everything changed abruptly when the Second World War started in Europe because they were not only living in a country at war, they were Jews. Moved from the only home she had ever known into a small apartment in an area just for Jews and forced to wear a yellow star on her clothing, all the familiar things from her life started disappearing.
Suzy Zail tells this story of a young girl caught in a terrible moment in history in her book Playing for the Commandant. The story though is not just one of many holocaust stories, it has a bit of a twist as Hannah ends being sent to play for the camp commandant every day and while in his home becomes friends with his son Karl. While the harsher elements of this brutal period are less prominent than in other holocaust tales, this story is a good place to start.
For grades 5-8