Berlin Boxing Club

Robert Sharenow

By: Zach Jones

Summary

This story is about a young Jewish boy named Karl during the rule of Adolf Hitler in Germany. Karl is weak and is constantly bullied at school for being Jewish. As he begins doing work for his father, Karl begins realizing that his father is involved in a sort of resistance movement. This also leads Karl to meet World Champion boxer Max Schmeling who makes a deal with his father to teach Karl how to box. As he continues to fight and learn, the Nazi's begin to catch up, leaving Karl with a predicament he may not be able to escape from.


Recommendation

I recommend this book to anyone who has ever enjoyed any form of boxing or fighting, or anyone interested in the Holocaust. I recommend this book to people age 16 and up due to explicit descriptions and cursing.


Quotes

"His reach must be at least seventy-two inches already. And what are you, five foot nine? Ten?" - Max Schmeling
This quote is Max telling Karl that he is basically born to be a boxer with his reach and height.

"Listen to me, you both must be good children for me. Karl, you are a man now, so you must look after your sister and your mother." - Frau Kressel
This quote comes from the housemaid, as she must leave because she isn't being payed well enough. She tells the children that they must be strong, especially Karl.

"If you see his nose bone sticking out of the skin again tell the ref, you don't want to cause any brain damage" - Worjyk
This quote is actually one of Karl's trainers trying to scare his opponent, but it's really a lie and it's Karl's first fight.


The Berlin Boxing Club

Things I learned

During the Holocaust some people formed resistance movements against the Nazi regime. Some of which included Jewish fighting parties consisting of members of a boxing school to resist the Nazi attacks. This is shown when Karl must try to defend his family, using only the boxing skills he has.

Hitler believed that all youth should be trained in physical education. All sports and gymnastics included. In Mein Kampf, Hitler explains his views on boxing: "There is no sport that so much as this one (boxing) promotes the spirit of attack, demands lightning decisions, and trains the body in steel dexterity.". This is shown in the book when Hitler's Youth members begin fighting Karl in the ring.

Max Schmeling was actually believed to be a "Nazi Puppet". Schmeling served in the German air force as a paratrooper. In the book Karl attempts to call upon Schmeling to help defend his family. But with his growing popularity in the boxing community, he becomes closer to Hitler and other high up Nazi officials.


Reflection

This book was interesting. Not just the plot or the setting, but the book itself. The book includes pictures that Karl draws in his journal. The plot and setting are also incredibly interesting. It's not often you read a book about a young boy who gets lessons in boxing from a professional. It's the kind of thing you hear in fairy tales. The fact that the boy is Jewish during the largest genocide in history adds to the intensity of the story.

It really appears that the author researched everything he wrote in the book very in-depth. His goal was to have readers understand what the situation was like and if you couldn't defend yourself, it was kill or be killed. I also feel that the language and deep descriptions add a lot to the story. I feel like my understanding of the situation during the Holocaust is more in depth and personal.