86 pages 2 hours read

Alan Gratz


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2019

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1940s Discrimination Through Different Lenses

Gratz examines the discrimination experienced by various perspectives in Allies. The largest and most profound discrimination is that of the Nazis against Jews and other peoples throughout their occupied territories. This discrimination is one that the characters are aware of and that helps motivate them to fight against the Nazis. For example, Dee’s friend Sid is an American Jew whose heritage makes him especially enraged by what is happening to Jews in Europe. However, Gratz portrays American troops taunting and mistreating minorities as well. For example, Sid is called a Jewish slur in Chapter 1, and Dee remembers grimly that “[he] knew what happened when a Jewish guy punched somebody for insulting him. They’d seen it happen again and again in basic training. It was the Jew who got in trouble, not the other guy” (10). Henry, too, experiences discrimination from his fellow Allies because of his race at numerous points throughout the book. He hopes that serving alongside white soldiers will help ease racial intolerance.

Discrimination is not restricted to Americans in Gratz’s book. As Algerian immigrants, Samira and her mother face suspicion and discrimination from French citizens both before the war and during it (Chapter 7, Chapter 12). Canadian soldiers call Sam “chief” because of his Native Canadian heritage until he stands up to them (77-78).