Goodnight, Maman

By: Norma Fox Mazer

Plot Summary

This book is about a family in hiding from the Nazi troops, when Karin, her brother Mark, and her mother, who was just known as Maman through the whole book get kicked out of the house they where hiding in by a worried home owner. The family are forced to move at night and sleep and shelter through day light. They go from house to house hoping for food, or shelter. They eventually find a man who was willing to take them in and hide them from the Nazis. Karin's mother falls ill so Karin and her brother where forced to leave without her. The two get on a refugee boat offered from the American navy and army. They go to Oswego, New York and stay in a safe building surrounded by a barbed wire fence called Fort Ontario, there Karin meets new friends and foes and stays there with her brother until the war is over. When it's over, the two siblings move on to live with their aunt.

Historical Summary

Fort Ontario was one of the real historical things in the book. This building held many whom where suffering the grasp of the Nazis. This fort was established by President Roosevelt. Fort Oswego held those few lucky refugees as World War II pushed on in 1948, in the book, this is where Karin and her big brother Mark had spent a fraction of World War II. There, at Fort Ontario many families went on with their lives, or at least tried to. They ate in the 'mess hall' and slept on cots. Local towns people would toss clothing, shoes, and books to read over the fence. Some would just cast them anxious glances. A few of the children who where kept there where offered to go to a local school, and some did so. This building is amazingly still standing today, and is known as a little piece of history.

See picture of Fort Ontario below ;)

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I would say that the theme of this book is 'move on'. I say this because even after all Karin and Mark had been through, they still had to move on. In the book, their grandmother and father where killed, and as they went on, there mother was too. Karin's best friend was taking away in a round up, but Karin moved on and made it to America with her brother.

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Author's Including Of The Historical Fort Ontario

In Goodnight Maman Karin and Mark get on an American navy boat on their ways to Oswego, New York. When they get off the boat at the harbor, the two siblings aboard a train. The train takes them and hundreds of other Jews to Oswego. When they arrived the first thing the refugees saw was the barbed wire fence around the Fort. Curses and gasps of terror rose up, and as soon as they hopped off the train they where escorted to the gates. American soldiers took them to different rooms, each with a single window a couple cots, and a wooden table.
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"The National Archives Experience: DocsTeach." Refugees Registering at the Fort Ontario Refugee Camp, Oswego, New York. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.


Fort Ontario