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Karl is mistaken for a spy
Refugees like Karl were often regarded with suspicion, because they came from Nazi Europe, with whom the United Kingdom was at war.
 
‘Did you see the convoy?’ asked Norman [one of the helpers from Dublin ] . Fishing a small pair of binoculars out of his bulging pocket, he held them out.’ They’re my dad’s,’ he explained. ‘He uses them for the races. You get a great view’.
‘Maybe we shouldn’t use these’, said Karl uneasily.’We are not supposed to do anything which would make people suspicious.’
‘Oh, come on that’s crazy’, said Norman…. They gazed in turn through the binoculars…
That night Karl was woken by voices and footsteps in the farmyard….
Inside [the office] he could see Mr Senesh [the person in charge of them], a coat over his pyjamas and two other men. One was in police uniform, but it wasn’t their local Sergeant O’Connor, the ruddyfaced man who issued the travel permits; this man was a stranger....
Through the thin wooden wall they could hear Mr Senesh saying, ‘There must be a mistake. All the older boys here have appeared before the board in Newtownards and have permits to be in a coastal area-’
‘That may be,’ said the officer heavily. ‘But we’ve had reports that someone may have been signalling to enemy ships or U-boats on the beach.’ He paused. ‘It seems they had binoculars.’
Karl froze.

 

Tasks

1.Why are binoculars important in the story?

2.

Using the timeline, explain why you think Karl was worried about using the binoculars and why he ‘froze’ when the man in the uniform visited Millisle.*

3.

Look at the sources of what happened to some ‘enemy aliens’ in reality.
Match each source to the headings in the spidergram below.
4.Write a story saying what you think happened to Karl next.

5.

If you have the novel, read what actually happened on pp 126-30.
a. Do you think the sources are similar to those for Karl’s story or not?

Give reasons for your answer?
b. How similar is your story?
c. Do you think that the way Karl was treated was fair?

* Teachers might like to refer to page 19 of the novel and the visit of the ‘black-uniformed officer’.**

 

Spidergram: What happened to ‘enemy aliens in Britain in World War II?

 

** 'Taken Away', Faraway Home, p. 19

As Papa opened the door, a black-uniformed officer, wearing on his cap the skull badge of the dreaded Nazi SS, pushed past him and strode into the room. Behind him was a local Viennese policeman whom the Mullers had known for years – but now, Karl saw with a shock, wearing a swastika armband.
The officer glared round the room. In the moment of silence, a tiny stifled sob was heard from the study.
‘Get the Jewish scum out from there,’ the officer ordered the policeman. As Goldi growled, he turned to Karl. ‘Shut that animal up, or we’ll throw it out of the window.’
Karl rushed to shut Goldi in the kitchen, his body responding without conscious thought. The policeman pushed Rosa and Oma, holding each other, both crying softly, into the room. At the other side of the kitchen door, Goldi whined and scratched.
‘Shut up, all of you,’ shouted the officer. They gasped as he pulled out a gun. ‘We’ve come for Muller, Jew and Social Democrat supporter.’