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Those Who Save Us
by Blum, Jenna
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1. How would you categorize Those Who Save Us: as a war story, a love story, a mother-daughter story? Why? How is it different from other novels that address the issues surrounding the Holocaust? What new perspectives does it offer?

2. While she is hiding Max, Anna thinks she would "pay a high price to be plain, for her looks pose an ever-greater danger to both herself and Max." Do you see Anna's beauty as a blessing or a curse? What role does it play in shaping her destiny? How do her looks affect her relationships with Max, Gerhard, the Obersturmführer, Trudy?

3. When living with Mathilde, Anna asks why Mathilde risks her life to feed the Buchenwald prisoners "when everyone else turn a blind eye." Why does Mathilde take this risk? Why does Anna? Do you think American women would react differently than German women in similar circumstances, and if so, why?

4. Do you see the Obersturmführer as a monster or as human? What are his vulnerabilities? To what degree is he a product of his time? If the Obersturmführer had been born in contemporary America, what might he be doing today?

5. Are Trudy's difficulties with her mother caused only by the secrets Anna keeps? If the past had not come between them, what would their relationship have been like? In what ways are Trudy and Anna typical of mothers and daughters everywhere?

6. Anna's consistent response to Trudy's questions is, "The past is dead, and better it remain so." Why does Anna keep her silence? Is this fair to Trudy? Were you surprised that Anna refuses to talk about her past even when she has been confronted and deemed a heroine by Mr. Pfeffer? In her position, would you do the same?

7. At the end of Those Who Save Us, the characters' fates are ambiguous; Trudy, for instance, is left in a "vacuum between one part of life ending and another coming to take its place." Why does Blum do this? What statement, if any, is she trying to make? Do you feel that the novel's end is a happy one for Trudy? For Anna? Why or why not? And what do you think has happened to the Obersturmführer?

Additional discussion questions from: Reading Group Guides
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