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Set in Vienna shortly after the Nazi occupation of 1938, Emil and Karl explores the friendship of two young boys-Karl (a Christian, with Socialist parents) and Emil (a Jew). The boys are inseparable friends whose fathers have been killed, and who have only each other after both their mothers are dragged away by the authorities.

Yankev Glatshteyn’s novel reflects the climate of fear he encountered on a visit to Europe in 1934. His depiction of how the two young boys survive, and the stories of those who aid them in their plight, adds new depth and insight into our understanding of an oft-depicted time. Emil and Karl is a wrenching story laced with humiliation, horror, love and incredible courage. Initially published in Yiddish, and first published in English in 2006, Emil and Karl has been beautifully translated by Jeffrey Shandler.


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Comments on: "Emil and Karl – Yankev Glatshteyn" (8)

  1. This week, I finished the book finally. Over all the book was pretty sick and interesting. I enjoyed the last few pages most though because they were so gripping but what I disliking was in a way it may have just been me, but I knew what was going to happen or I had a pretty good idea to what was going to happen next. I wouldn’t be able to ever imagine myself in Karl’s position nor Emil’s for they had absolutely no one, no one left for them, they knew nobody. I would be terrified to be by myself out in the world going to or about to leave to go to another country, knowing nobody. My favourite character over all though was definitely Matilda, she was so cute and nawh ! Seems like a lovely person. She treated Emil and Karl like her own. I would very much so love to meet someone like Matilda. It was super sad when Hans got taken away.


  2. This week we finished the book and it was sad.
    The two boy’s ended up being split a part, and left alone. I enjoyed this book because we were not also just reading but we were learning about history to. I think every one who is interested in the jew’s and the nazi should read this book.

    The book was different. It had another story to it, it’s not just about going to the death’s camps and dying it’s about surviving the holocaust and being strong and knowing what to do, when times were tough!

    By Alisha (:


  3. This is the last week of reading and I am very sad because I don’t want to stop reading and I really want to know what happens next with Emil and Karl and if they happen to see each other again, which I doubt. I wonder if one of them will see Matilda again. I feel sorry for Emil and Karl and reading the last five chapters of the book were really sad and made me feel extra sorry for the boys. My favourite character is still Matilda but she isn’t with the boys in the end. It was really sad and also confusing towards the end, especially when they were at the train station. I really enjoyed the book and would definitely read it again.


  4. Emil and Karl 🙂

    I thought this book was very interesting and i would love to read it again, I would recommend it for ages 12+ because it would be too sad and they wouldn’t really understand what the jews went through.

    I would like to read this again. This book impacted on my life because reading the book i saw how much the jews suffered and i didnt think it was fair.

    My favourite characters were Emil and Karl right from the first chapter.

    This book is really different to other stories, This book impacts on your life.

    By Georgia 🙂


    This book is a story of the life of two young boys one jewish and one not living in the time just after Adolph Hitler invaded Vienna. This had effected the boys significantly and they were very restricted on what they were able to do, due to hitlers strict rules against the Jewish people. Emil and Karl are each others only friends and have gone through so much together. They comfort each other through lonely and heart breaking times. The book is set around two young boys that are very loyal to each other, Emil is a jewish boy and Karl is a German boy that always stick together no matter what was happening. They both went through losing their mothers at the hands of the same leader Adolph Hitler for different reasons with Karl’s mother even being german didn’t protect her from the evil leader of that time. The overall theme running through out the book was of the forever true friendship and survival between these boys that was beyond their years due to the danger of their environment and their friendship that went against the Nazi law. It is an engaging story of adversity, that we in todays australian society can’t even comprehend the pain and suffering that they experienced together emotionally and physically at the young age of 9. In the reviewers opinion the ending was slightly disappointing considering the depth and detail of the body of the book, the boys fait was left up to the readers imagination at the end.



    the ending well that was real bad it ended with emil on the train and karl with a girl eating an apple come on!!!!

    seriously couldn’t believe that the ending was that scrappy!!!!!!

    it was such a good nail biting book but it ended so so so so BAD i couldn’t believe it!!!

    the book was so interesting it made all jumpy but the ending ruined the whole entire book!!!!!!

    i loved the bit about the forest that would be soooo fun i wished they had of and then they get caught and sent to a camp!!!!!!

    that would be a way better ending.

    well i will be reading lots more hitler books to get my fix now.


  7. I didn’t mind this book. I thought this book was okay because i like learning about the nazi’s and Hitler. I would recomend it to people who are interested in this. Emil and Karl were interesting charecters they were best friends and they had nobody else they knew in their lives, because their perants had been taken by the nazi’s. Emil is a jew and Karl being a great friend he lets people think he is a jew as well, just to protect Emil. I don’t think i could live like that Emil and Karl are only around the age of 10 and i don’t think i could live without my parents or reletives all dead at that age. The only thing i did not like about the book is the ending i thought something big should have happened except when it finished it just finished and that was all. I think this book could have a sequel that would be interesting i would read it.


  8. Emil and Karl

    I really enjoyed this book. I also enjoy finding out and learning about hitler and the nazis and how horrible it must have been to live in that time. I was quite disappointed by the ending. It felt as if it was the end of the chapter, not the book. It didn’t really feel finished. I was thinking of writing a letter to the author, but unfortunately he has passed away. I would highly recommend this book, but only to those that will not be hoping for a second book.
    By Felicity


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