Alan Gratz Quotes

36 of the best book quotes from Alan Gratz
“She was finally counting clave. Lito was wrong. She didn’t have to be in Havana to hear it. To feel it. She had brought Cuba with her to Miami.”
“I don’t remember much about him, but I do remember he always wanted to be a grown-up. ‘I don’t have time for games,’ he would tell me. ‘I’m a man now.’ And when those soldiers said one of us could go free and the other would be taken to a concentration camp, Josef said, ‘Take me.’ My brother, just a boy, becoming a man at last.”
“‘Please!’ Mahmoud cried. He sobbed with the effort of fighting off the man’s fingers and hanging onto the dinghy. ‘Please, take us with you!’ ‘No! No room!’ ‘At least take my sister!’ Mahmoud begged. ‘She’s a baby. She won’t take up any room!‘”
″‘Don’t you see?’ Lito said. ‘The Jewish people on the ship were seeking asylum, just like us. They needed a place to hide from Hitler. From the Nazis. Mañana, we told them. We’ll let you in mañana. But we never did.’ Lito was crying now, distraught. ‘We sent them back to Europe and Hitler and the Holocaust. Back to their deaths. How many of them died because we turned them away? Because I was just doing my job?‘”
“We’ve spent too much time talking about it and not doing anything. It’s not safe here. It hasn’t been for months. Years. We should have gone long ago. Ready or not, if we want to live, we have to leave Syria.”
“Whether you were visible or invisible, it was all about how other people reacted to you. Good and bad things happened either way. If you were invisible, the bad people couldn’t hurt you, that was true. But the good people couldn’t help you, either.”
“You’re still alive, and so is your little sister, somewhere. I know it. You saved her. And together we’ll find her, yes? I promise. We’ll find her and bring her home.”
“And there were so many boats. Isabel’s family had worked in secret all night with the Castillos, worried someone might hear them, but apparently, everybody else had been doing the same thing. There were inflatable rafts, Canoes with homemade outriggers. Rafts made of inner tubes tied together.”
″‘Thank you! Thank you!’ Isabel cried. Her heart ached with gratitude toward these people. Just a moment’s kindness from each of them might mean the difference between death and survival for her mother and everyone else on the little raft.”
″‘Don’t be so quick to grow up boy,’ the Brownshirt told Josef. ‘We’ll come for you soon enough.‘”
“She had never been able to count clave, but she had always assumed it would come to her eventually. That the rhythm of her homeland would one day whisper its secrets to her soul. But would she ever hear it now? Like trading her trumpet, had she swapped the one thing that was really hers—her music—for the chance to keep her family together?”
″‘We’re not criminals!’ one of the other men in the cell yelled at him. ‘We didn’t ask for civil war! We didn’t want to leave our homes!’ another man yelled. ‘We’re refugees!’ Mahmoud yelled, unable to stay silent any longer. ‘We need help!‘”
“The vacationers dropped their voices, and even though Mahmoud couldn’t understand what they were saying, he could hear the disgust in their words. This wasn’t what the tourists had paid for. They were supposed to be on holiday, seeing ancient ruins and beautiful Greek beaches, not stepping over filthy, praying refugees. They only see us when we do something they don’t want us to do, Mahmoud realized.”
“A calm came over Lito, as though he’d come to some sort of understanding, some decision. ‘I see if now, Chabela. All of it. The past, the present, the future. All my life, I kept waiting for things to get better. Fro the bright promise of manana. But a funny thing happened while I was waiting for the world to change, Chabela: It didn’t. Because I didn’t change it. I’m not going to make the same mistake twice.‘”
“It all came flooding back to him now—swaying and humming along with the prayers, craning his neck to see the Torah when it was taken out of the ark and hoping to get a chance to touch it and then kiss his fingers as the scroll came around in a procession. Josef felt his skin tingle. The Nazis had taken all this from them, from him, and now he and the passengers on the ship were taking it back.”
“What is he thinking? Josef wondered. What happened to him at Dachau that he’s now a ghost of the man he once was? ‘At least he didn’t have to be buried in the hell of the Third Reich,’ his father said.”
″‘I wish from the bottom of my heart that you will land soon, Little Man,’ Officer Padron said again. ‘I’m sorry. I’m just doing my job.’ Josef looked deep into Officer Padron’s eyes, searching for some sign of help, some hint of sympathy. Officer Padron just looked away.”
“Isabel listened as everyone listed more and more things they were looking forward to in the States. Clothes, food, sports, movies, travel, school, opportunity. It all sounded so wonderful, but when it came down to it, all Isabel really wanted was a place where she and her family could be together, and happy.”
“Mahmoud’s mother broke down in tears, and his father let the life jackets he carried drop to the ground. The smuggler had just told them their boat wasn’t leaving tonight. Again. ‘No boat today. Tomorrow. Tomorrow,’ he’d told Mahmoud’s father.”
″‘I see rocks!’ someone at the front of the dinghy yelled, and there was a loud POOM! like a bomb exploding, and Mahmoud went tumbling into the sea.”
“People talked about plenty of other stuff they weren’t supposed to, but only after a quick glance over their shoulder to make sure no one else was listening. Everybody did it so much there was even a special word for it: Deutscherblick. The ‘German Look.’ You did the German Look right before you said Germany might be losing the war, or complained about the food rations, or told a joke about Hitler. Because someone was always listening, always waiting to turn you in to the Nazi secret police. Always ready to rat you out to prove how loyal they were, even if they had said the very same thing yesterday.”
“I hated pretending to like these people, hated pretending to agree with their awful hatred of the Jews, hated pretending I wanted them to win the war and conquer the world. But I smiled because I had to.”
“I tossed one book onto the fire at a time, slowly, so Horst wouldn’t see me standing around doing nothing. My skin crawled, as if I was consigning little bits of my soul to the fire with each book I threw in. But like smiling at a Nazi dinner party or memorizing facts about the Nazis for tests in school, it was all about the bigger mission. It was all part of the game. If it meant them letting me stick around to steal their secrets so the Allies could win the war, I’d burn every last book in Berlin.”
“It’s hard to smile when you’re having dinner with Nazis.”
“Everywhere I’d looked I’d seen faces full of smiles and laughter. But then, overnight, the party had ended. Not the Nazi Party. They had only gotten stronger. The other party- the feeling of unbounded German cheerfulness- was gone.”
“I had finally seen the horror behind the smiles, and so had the rest of the world.”
“I wouldn’t have complained about brushing my teeth, or taking a bath, or going to bed at eight o’clock every night. I would have played more. Laughed more. I would have hugged my parents and told them I loved them. But I was ten years old, and I had no idea of the nightmare that was to come. None of us did.”
“He was my father, and I wanted to believe him, but I wasn’t so sure anymore. It was January 1941. The Germans ruled Kraków. I was twelve years old. And for the first time in my life, I had begun to doubt my father.”
“My father reached up to hold my mother’s hand. ‘We must not lose faith, Moshe.’ ‘See how easy it is to keep your faith when the Nazis take it away along with everything else,’ Moshe told him.”
“If I had known what the next six years of my life were going to be like, I would have eaten more.”
“Let them take everything. They cannot take who we are.”
“You are now responsible for your own sins, but also for your own goodness. Remember what the Talmud teaches: Life is but a river. It has no beginning, no middle, no end. All we are, all we are worth, is what we do while we float upon it—how we treat our fellow man. Remember this, and a good man you will be.”
“In the place of my pain, I felt the stirring of determination. I would not give up. I would not turn myself in. No matter what the Nazis did to me, no matter what they took from me, I would survive.”
“I was all alone in the world, but I would survive on my own.”
“We were going to survive, the two of us. We were going to survive—the last two men in the Gruener family written on the pages of the world.”
“I was an animal to them, a pack mule. But beasts were never treated so poorly. Working animals were expensive. They had value. I was a Jew. We were lower than animals.”

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