When we first get to know Klaudia, one of the things she mentions is that her family are very religious. They are Methodists. Methodism or the Methodist movement[nb 1] is a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity which derive their inspiration from the life and teachings of John Wesley. Wesley’s theology focused on sanctification and the effect of faith on the character of a Christian. Distinguishing Methodist doctrines include an assurance of salvation, imparted righteousness, the possibility of perfection in love, the works of piety, and the primacy of Scripture.
In school Klaudia is bullied by Shane. One of the first things he wants her to do is to attend a meeting of the National Front. The National Front (NF) is a fascist political party in the United Kingdom. It is headquartered in Kingston upon Hull and is currently led by David MacDonald. It has no elected representatives at any level of UK government. During its heyday in the 1970s, it had a small number of local councillors, although has never secured a seat in the British Parliament. Ideologically positioned on the extreme or far-right of British politics, the NF has been characterised as fascist or neo-fascist by political scientists.
Eliza and her existence is in Leeds, which is in West Yorkshire.
When Klaudia/Eliza returns to London after her mother’s death, she decides to stay in. Then she gets a job as a waitress in a burlesque club. Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. A later use of the term, particularly in the United States, refers to performances in a variety show format. These were popular from the 1860s to the 1940s, often in cabarets and clubs, as well as theatres, and featured bawdy comedy and female striptease.
The parts about Ernst start when Adolf Hitler is appointed the leader of the National Socialists. The party’s leader since 1921, Adolf Hitler, was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933.
In 1933 there is a boycott to Jewish businesses. The Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany began on April 1, 1933, and was claimed to be a defensive reaction to the Jewish boycott of German goods, which had been initiated but quickly abandoned in March 1933. It was largely unsuccessful, as the German population continued to use Jewish businesses, but revealed the intent of the Nazis to undermine the viability of Jews in Germany.
In 1933 Ernst refers to his school burning unpatriotic books. The Nazi book burnings were a campaign conducted by the German Student Union to ceremonially burn books in Nazi Germany and Austria in the 1930s. The books targeted for burning were those viewed as being subversive or as representing ideologies opposed to Nazism. These included books written by Jewish, pacifist, religious, classical liberal, anarchist, socialist, and communist authors, among others.
Enst and Otto have to prove they’re Aryans in their ancestry. Ernst mentions Anhenpass. The Ahnenpaß documented the Aryan lineage of citizens of Nazi Germany. It was one of the forms of the Aryan certificate and issued by the “Reich Association of Marriage Registrars in Germany”. One important law which was issued on 7 April 1933 (after the Nazi assumption of power) was called the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, and it required all public servants to be of Aryan descent.
Otto and Ernst also attend the Nuremberg Rally. The Nuremberg Rally was the annual rally of the Nazi Party in Germany, held from 1923 to 1938. They were large Nazi propaganda events, especially after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. These events were held at the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg from 1933 to 1938.
Ernst and Otto learn that Austria surrenders to Germany. On 12 March 1938, Austrian Nazis took over government, while German troops occupied the country. On 13 March 1938, the Anschluss of Austria was officially declared. Ostmark was the name used by Nazi propaganda from 1938 to 1942 to replace that of the formerly independent Federal State of Austria after the Anschluss with Nazi Germany.
Another event is the assassination of Von Rath. On the morning of 7 November 1938, Polish-German Jew Herschel Grynszpan, 17, went to the German embassy in Paris and asked to speak with an embassy official. He shot the 29-year-old vom Rath five times, mortally wounding him with bullets to the spleen, stomach and pancreas.
As a result, the Nazis took revenge on the Jews, and Kristallnacht happened. Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, was a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany on 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and German civilians. German authorities looked on without intervening. The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues were smashed.
Daniel, Sarah, and their mother are sent to the Lublin Reservation. The Lublin Reservation was a concentration camp complex developed by Nazi German Schutzstaffel (SS) in the early stages of World War II, as the so-called “territorial solution to the Jewish Question“. The plan was developed in September 1939 after the invasion of Poland and implemented between October 1939 and April 1940. In total, about 95,000 Jews were deported to the Lublin Reservation.
Klaudia learns that her father was never in the SS or in Russia, but he was captured when the U-boat he was in was torpedoed. U-boat is the anglicised version of the German word U-Boot. While the German term refers to any submarine, the English one refers specifically to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in the First and Second World Wars.