The Greenies


250 pages
ISBN 0-00-639355-1
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Susan Merskey

Susan Merskey is freelance writer in London, Ontario.


In the period immediately following World War II, Canada accepted over a
thousand orphaned Jewish children from Europe. The Greenies (the title
is derived from the Yiddish “grynner,” meaning greenhorn or
newcomer) is a novel based on the experiences of some of these children
and the Canadians with whom they lived.

Danny epitomizes those who needed to find a niche as an adult rather
than as a child. Lilli represents those who were placed into families
that failed to understand their needs and often exploited them. Although
welcomed by his host family, Max is miserable enough to run away.
Marilyn Becker and her family are typical of those who did their best to
help the newcomers feel at home.

There are many heartwarming incidents, but the author also shows the
difficulties these displaced children faced not only in adjusting to
their new lives, but also in coping with survivor’s guilt. The
Greenies would be a valuable teaching tool for high-school students.


Paperny, Myra., “The Greenies,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,