Questions for Greater than Angels by Carol Matas Part I to Chapter Seven

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Questions for Greater than Angels

by Carol Matas

Part I to Chapter Seven

  1. p.22 – Why did the doctor suggest giving the sleeping pills to Oma? Why did Anna’s mother and aunt give Oma the pills?

  1. p.24 – What does “Where does the evil come from” mean?

  1. p. 28 – Why were the Jews considered “enemy aliens” in France? Are they “aliens” in Germany? Why or why not?

  1. p.33 - Why were Anna’s music, theater and jokes so important to her? Do you think her efforts in these areas were effective? Why or why not?

  1. p. 39 – Why did Anna think this about her briefcase: “Keep it. And as long as you have it, you’ll have hope?”

  1. p. 43 – Why was it important that Mr. Engel set up sort of a kind of bank in the refugee camp?

  1. p. 47 – Why was Oma so sure that she needed her shroud? What was it for?

  1. p. 49 – Why was CIMADE in the camp? What were they trying to do?

  1. p. 61 – According to Rudi, why did God create an imperfect world?

  1. p. 74 – Why, do you think, did Madame Debard and her family shelter Anna? What was the risk for them?

  1. p. 75 – Why didn’t Mother hesitate to get Anna out of Gurs? Why was Anna reluctant to go to Le Chambon-sur-Lignon? What were some of the other organizations besides CIMADE that were helping the Jews at Gurs?

  1. p. 79 – Do you think that the people on the way to Le Chambon really didn’t know what was going on in Gurs and other camps like it?

Part II Chapter Seven to the End

  1. p.83 – Why was Anna not put in school at her grade level, while Rudi and Clara were?

    1. p. 89 – What did Anna mean when she said that Pastor Trocmé had a huge soul? Do you think that there are very few like him and the others from Le Chambon? Why do you think that Le Chambon was the village where there were people who were willing to help those who were in trouble? What gives some people the courage to help, while others don’t seem to have it?

    1. p. 90 - What is the importance of the title, Greater Than Angels?

  1. p. 93 - Do you think what Rudi was doing with the forgeries was wrong? Why or why not? Was Rudi simply a nuisance, or did he use his intelligence to help? Why did the Jews need to get out of France to Switzerland? Why there? Who were “foreign Jews” in France?

  1. p.95 - Who are communists, socialists, and freedom fighters? What was the resistance?

  1. p. 96 – Who are Quakers? What are some of their core beliefs? What is pacifism? Huguenots?

  1. p. 97 – Do you agree that the Jews and the political dissidents have the Catholics to thank for their place of refuge? Who are Protestants? What other times can you think of when religious groups were fighting with each other?

  1. pp. 98, 99 – Do you agree that suffering can be a good thing? When? Was all the persecution during the Holocaust “good” for the Jews? “We are created to learn, and to try to become perfect.” Do you agree?

  1. p. 102 – If a person is good at one thing, does that mean that s/he is good at everything? Why do you feel that way? Can you give an example? What does it mean to be “gifted”?

  1. p. 108 – What are “boils”? What causes them? Was it right for Aunt Mina to thank God for allowing Anna to go to Gurs? What effect does thankfulness have on the person who engages in it?

  1. pp. 112, 113, 114 – Did it do any good for Anna to tell jokes and sing for the people who were about to be deported to the camps? Why or why not? What about the prayer that she sang? Does it do any good to pray under these circumstances? What does prayer do?

  1. p. 116 Will Anna “be all right? What does it mean to be “all right”?

  1. p. 120 – Do you think Oma “went crazy”? What does that mean? Did going “crazy” make her life easier, under the circumstances?

  1. p. 122 – What is dysentery? How is it spread? What can be done about it?

  1. p. 123 – Why did some gendarmes look the other way, and some didn’t, when Jews tried to escape?

  1. p. 125 – What was the Hitler Youth? What was the goal of the group? Why did the French participate in the program? What is the YMCA?

  2. pp. 126, 127 – Who was St. Paul? What does it mean to “love your neighbor as yourself”? What is “gospel teaching”? Why did the Vichy government come to Le Chambon to order deportations? Why did the French cooperate with the Nazis?

  1. p. 129 – Do you agree with Shakespeare that “Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”?

  1. p. 132 – Why did Klara wonder if trying to escape from the gendarmes was “worth it”? Why did she change her mind (p. 134)?

  1. p. 137 – What do you think Pastor Trocmé meant when he said that a shepherd doesn’t give away his sheep?

  1. p. 138 - Why did Madame Chave and her husband have “…very few books, as they were from a strict fundamental Christian background?” What does this mean?

  1. p. 146 – Why do you think Anna didn’t know that Rudi was “nuts” over her and that Klara did? What were some of the hints about how he felt?

  1. p. 149 – What does “pastor” mean? Why was it Pastor Trocmé and Pastor Muril who took the lead in ensuring the safety of the Jews from Le Chambon? What was their reason, do you think?

  1. p. 150 – Peter doesn’t think that God helped the Jews during the Holocaust. What did Pastor Muril say about angels and Satan? Who does the pastor think Satan is?

  1. p. 154 – Pastor Muril says that he thinks perhaps an angel helped Peter pull Anna back onto the ledge. Do you think of Peter’s action as a miracle? What does Peter think?

  1. p. 156 – Why does Peter try to move down the ledge by himself? Why does Klara hit him afterward?

  1. pp. 160-166 – How did Anna, Klara and Peter wind up in Rivesaltes?

  1. p. 161 – What is the difference between the Swiss Red Cross and the Swiss government, who are interested in turning in Jews to the German authorities?

  1. p. 173 - Why is it unsafe to go back to Le Chambon? What is the Salvation Army?

  1. p. 175 - What are Benedictine monks?

  1. p. 177 – Did some Jewish people after the war go after the Nazi criminals? How?

  1. Afterword: Were Magma Trocmé and Pastor Trocmé real people? How do we know? What did Magma have to say about helping people in Le Chambon during the war?

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