Three friends find deep and divisive secrets when researching for a World War II Grade 9 project -- a massacre of Royal Winnipeg Rifles that no Nazis were punished for; Nazi looting; a family's incredible escape to Canada. Canada's shameful refusal to accept Jewish refugees in the 1940s is still a forgotten secret and maybe one we should understand because of the plight of refugees worldwide. More
Most people think Grade 9 is an easy grade. Jenn North though faces radical changes. Her parents are thinking of divorce. They are Jenn's brothers move to Eastern Canada while she is left in Vancouver at boarding school. When she's given an assignment that asks her to find out what one relative did in World War II, she thinks it will be easy. But her research shakes her foundations as much as the split in her family did. Her great-great-grandfather was decorated many times for his service to Canada. Jenn discovers though that he was a racist and bigot and he made sure that Jewish refugees weren't allowed into Canada. For Jo Carruthers and Jaslyn Green the assignment is both heart-breaking and vindicating. Jo discovers that her great-grandfather was part of a Hitler Youth massacre of a Royal Winnipeg Rifles squad that has been forgotten. Jas finds out that her Jewish ancestors' escape from Nazi Austria borders on the miraculous and fans of the movie Woman in Gold will discover a different thread to that story.
Rather than build to a traditional climax, Forgotten Secrets forces us to ask questions. Should Jenn feel guilty because her great-great grandfather's Anti-Semitic policies meant thousands died when they might have been safe in Canada? When values change so much from generation to generation, what do we build on? Will our lives makes our descendants ashamed of us?