Ten-year-old Fritz’s tranquil life on the family farm is about to end–the Russians are near, Hitler has died, and known Nazi sympathizers like the Friedrich family brace for the Bolsheviks to take over their town — in this historical novel for middle-grrade readers.
At the end of April 1945 in a small village in eastern Germany, the front is coming closer — and ten-year-old Fritz knows that the Soviet Army’s invasion of his family’s home can be only a few days away. Grandpa Karl, a Nazi sympathizer, takes Fritz into the forest that surrounds the family farm to show him a secret. Under a tall pine tree, Grandpa Karl has dug a pit and covered it with branches. The hole is to hide Fritz’s family when the Russians invade their village. Grandpa Karl is convinced that he and Fritz will defend the Friedrich family to the death. But when the Russian soldiers arrive, Fritz and his sister and mother find themselves alone. Separated from his home, his family, and foreced into a life as a refugee, Fritz has to find his own way in a crumbling world.