Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea


Ruta Sepetys

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Amber Room

A real room, formerly housed in the Catherine Palace near the city of Leningrad (present day Saint Petersburg). It was a beautiful chamber made entirely of amber, precious stones, and precious metals. In 1941, Nazis… read analysis of Amber Room

Hitler Youth

The youth division of the German Nazi Party. Originally a Boy Scout-like organization, it became a pipeline to service in the German military during WWII, instilling in its members the philosophy and doctrines of Hitler… read analysis of Hitler Youth


A port city in the north of East Prussia (now modern day Poland) where much of the action of the second half of the novel takes place. read analysis of Gotenhafen


The naval division of the army in Nazi Germany. read analysis of Kriegsmarine

Mein Kampf

Adolf Hitler’s autobiography. It contains the foundations of his anti-Semitic and white supremacist worldview, as well as plans for the future of Germany. read analysis of Mein Kampf
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East Prussia

A province within the larger Free State of Prussia. Prussia itself was part of the even larger German Empire, which extended from modern-day Germany to the present Latvian border. East Prussia was partitioned and absorbed… read analysis of East Prussia

Baltic Sea

The part of the Atlantic Ocean sandwiched between Scandinavia, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, and Germany. read analysis of Baltic Sea


A soldier who has abandoned their position without authorization, or a civilian who has evacuated their city against government decree. read analysis of Deserter


A city which fell within the boundaries of Poland during WWII, but now sits in present-day Ukraine. read analysis of Lwów


A city in East Prussia and the site of a 1944 Soviet massacre of German civilians. read analysis of Nemmersdorf


A city in southwest Germany. read analysis of Heidelberg


To return to one’s country. In the novel it is often used to refer to someone returning to the land of their ancestral roots. For example, Joana, who is ethnically German on one side… read analysis of Repatriate


Formerly an East Prussian city control by Germany, Köningsberg is now controlled by Russia (although it is technically an exclave, as it is not connected to mainland Russia, and is instead situated between Poland, Lithuania… read analysis of Königsberg

Wilhelm Gustloff

A German leisure vessel and cruise ship converted by the German military into a transport ship to aid in the evacuation of German civilians at the end of the war. Although it originally had a… read analysis of Wilhelm Gustloff

Axis Powers

The countries that fought against the Allies in WWII. The major players were Germany, Italy, and Japan, but the Axis also collaborated with Hungary, Romania, Croatia, and other countries. read analysis of Axis Powers

Allied Powers

The countries that fought against the Axis in WWII. The major players were the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and China, but the Allies also collaborated with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ethiopia… read analysis of Allied Powers


A coastal city. Formerly in East Prussia, like Tilsit and Köningsberg, Pillau is now part of a Russian exclave (meaning that it is not connected to the Russian mainland, and is instead situated… read analysis of Pillau


Formerly an East Prussian city situated on the border of present-day Lithuania and Poland, it is now controlled by Russia. Like Königsberg, it is technically an exclave, as it is not connected to mainland… read analysis of Tilsit


A German city in the far north of the country, situated on the Baltic Sea. read analysis of Kiel


A term used in Nazi Germany to describe the ideal “master race” of Caucasians. A non-scientific category, the idea of the Aryan race was mostly defined by what it was not; Aryans were not Slavic… read analysis of Aryan