The Silver Sword
Summaries & Comprehension Questions
Chapters 1 - 5
Joseph is imprisoned in Zakyna for turning the picture of Hitler to the wall in his classroom. He escape after a little over two years. He forces the aerial luggage lift operator, who is also polish to take him to his house, where he reveals that he is a polish prisoner. He stays there for two weeks, before he leaves for Warsaw, a journey which takes him four and a half weeks. He is devastated by the destruction he finds there, but is still determined to find his family. He gets news from Mrs. Krause, who tells him the Nazis have his wife and that his children were quite possibly killed when the Nazis returned to bomb the house. As he searches through the rubble which was his home, he finds the silver sword that he gave his wife for a birthday present. He also encounters a strange boy, Jan, who desires the sword. Joseph asks him about his children, and though Jan doubts he agrees to tell Joseph’s children, if he comes across them, that they are to meet him in Switzerland. He does this in exchange for the silver sword. He also assists Joseph with catching and goods train to Switzerland.
- Identify the narrative perspective.
- What is the setting?
- Who are the members of the family?
- What does the narrator say the story is about?
- In what year was Joseph taken to prison?
- Where is Zakyna?
- For how long was he in prison?
- How does Joseph end up in the aerial luggage lift?
- Where does he go next?
- What is Joseph’s camp number?
- Describe the old polish couple.
- Based on what Joseph tells the old woman, what are the effects of the German invasion?
- What happens when the soldiers search the chalet? How does Joseph escape discovery?
- How long does he stay at the chalet? How does he spend his time there?
- How long does it take Joseph to walk to Warsaw?
- Describe Warsaw.
- How long does it take Joseph to find his street? What does this tell you?
- What information does he receive about his family? Where? From whom?
- What meeting place did Joseph and his families plan to go if they were separated?
- What does he find in the rubble that was his house?
- Who does he meet? Describe him.
- How does he react to Joseph’s desire to find his children?
- What agreement do they make?
- What is the safest way for Joseph to get to Switzerland?