Hlinka Guard Hotel ConfiscationSummary: Thomas Buergenthal's family owned a hotel in Slovakia that got taken over by the Hlinka Guard (a Slovak Nazy party). Upon eviction, Thomas had to leave his favorite red toy car behind, which he was very upset about.
Negative Character Development: This event impacted Thomas negatively because it marked the beginning of his torturous struggles as a Jew during the war.
Theme: This relates to the theme because it shows one of the struggles that he had to push through to survive.
Fortune-TellerSummary: Thomas's mother visited a fortune-teller who said that Thomas was a "lucky child", and that he would be unharmed by whatever awaited him in the future. This is where the title "A Lucky Child" comes from.
Positive Character Development: This event positively impacted Thomas because it showed his clear future, despite his struggles.
Theme: By remaining determined through his hardships, Thomas survived and proved the fortune correct.
Kielce GhettoSummary: The Buergenthals stayed in the Kielce ghetto for a few years after their train to England had been bombed.
Character Development: Thomas and his family wouldn't have ended up in Kielce if their train hadn't been bombed. This event negatively impacted Thomas because his life in the ghetto was bleary and miserable for the following few years.
Theme: This relates to theme because it shows another one of the many hardships that Thomas had to go through to attain his freedom.
Kielce MassacreSummary: German death squads invaded the Kielce ghetto and killed over 20,000 Jews. Thomas escaped death by following his father outside of the courtyard.
Negative Character Development: This event negatively impacted Thomas because it exposed him to the reality that the Nazis could end his life and the lives of everyone he loved instantly.
Theme: This relates to the theme because it left a traumatizing scar on Thomas's mind; he had to bear with this horrible experience in order to survive.
AuschwitzSummary: Thomas arrived at Auschwitz when he was 10 years old. He suffered disgusting living conditions and treatment there for the next few months, but he stayed alive.
Negative Character Development: This was such a difficult time for Thomas in his experience as a Holocaust survivor. This event negatively impacted Thomas because he lost so much during this period.
Theme: This was one of the two most difficult times for Thomas, where he had to stay determined for his survival more than ever.
Auschwitz Death TransportSummary: Thomas was forced to march to Gliwice, ride by rail car into Berlin, and march again to later arrive at Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Negative Character Development: This was the most difficult time for Thomas to endure during the war; he experienced worse conditions on this march than what he did in Auschwitz.This was where he nearly lost hope for his survival and almost died.
Theme: Even through his most difficult time in the Holocaust, Thomas still endured it and survived.
LiberationSummary: Soviet soldiers came into Sachsenhausen to liberate all of the remaining Jewish survivors.
Positive Turning Point: After so long of being trapped and tortured by the Nazis, Thomas was liberated by the Soviet soldiers from Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He finally achieved his freedom after enduring so much pain and hardship.
Theme: This relates to the theme because Thomas gained his freedom in the end. By pushing through his difficulties and staying hopeful, he eventually survived.
Reunited with MotherSummary: After more than 2 years of being separated during the war, Thomas reunited with his mother in Gottingen, Germany.
Positive Turning Point: Thomas was about to lose hope in believing that his parents survived the war, but by miracle, he was able to find his mother and join her. He said that he could be a child again, with someone to rely on.
Theme: As a result of withstanding his sufferings, remaining determined, and surviving the war, Thomas was able to be with his mother again.
Theme StatementTheme Statement: Pushing through difficulties and staying determined are key factors to survival.