Review in Booklist of The Extra
The year is 1940. Lilo, 15, and her family are Gypsies (Romani) who have been rounded up by the Nazis and sent to the Maxglan internment camp. It is there that Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s favorite film director, selects Lilo and her mother to serve as extras in her new movie, Tiefland. As shooting of the film begins, Riefenstahl quickly emerges as a beautiful but feral and very, very dangerous woman. As for the extras, they’re little more than slaves who are living not in a cinematic dreamworld but, instead, in a waking nightmare. Aside from her mother, the only bright spot in Lilo’s life is the boy Django, a brilliant survivor and indispensable information-gatherer. But even he can’t know what their fate will be when the filming concludes. Could it be freedom? Lasky has written a harrowing and deeply moving novel that focuses attention on a seldom-told story of the Nazis’ attempt to exterminate the Romani people. Thoroughly researched and insightful, the book is ideal for classroom use and discussion.
— Michael Cart
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