Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz | Summary, Themes & Synopsis

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TitleProjekt 1065
AuthorAlan Gratz
Publication DateOctober 11, 2016
GenreHistorical Fiction
SettingBerlin, Germany during World War II
ProtagonistMichael O’Shaunessey, a 13-year-old Irish boy living in Berlin
Major ThemesLoyalty, betrayal, trust, friendship, and the power of choice
AwardsNominated for the 2018 Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers and the 2018 Nutmeg Book Award
ThemesLoyalty, Betrayal, Courage, War, Espionage, and Resistance


In the midst of World War II, Germany is the setting of Alan Gratz’s historical fiction book Project 1065. The narrative of the book centres on a young Irish lad named Michael O’Shaunessey who joins the Hitler Youth. Michael, however, is actually a British intelligence agent tasked with gathering information about Project 1065, a covert Nazi project.


Michael O’Shaunessey – The protagonist.

Fritz – Michael’s friend at school.

Pili – Another friend of Michael’s.

Wolfgang Metzger – A Hitler Youth leader.

Reinhard Heydrich – A high-ranking Nazi official.

Friedrich Kellner – A German opponent of the Nazi regime.

Watch “Projekt 1065” by Alan Gratz Summary

Summary-Projekt 1065

Young adult historical fiction Project 1065 by Alan Gratz was initially released in 2016. Kirkus and the School Library Journal both gave the book starred reviews. The book is about the son of the Irish ambassador to Germany during World War II. Despite Ireland’s declared neutrality in the war, the main character of the book, 13-year-old Michael O’Shaunessey, his ambassador dad, and his Irish Security member mother all surreptitiously support the Allies by spying on the Nazis.

The first page of the book shows Michael looking for information while at a Nazi dinner party with his parents; he’s been carrying out this kind of spy work ever since the night four years ago when, after his family witnessed the violence against Jews on Kristallnacht, his parents admitted that they were working as spies for the Allies, Michael began his first spy mission. Although Michael detests the Nazis, he is eager to adopt their character by joining the Hitler Youth and participating in book burnings if doing so will help him learn more and “make up” (21) for the “helpless” (8) feeling he experienced during Kristallnacht.

Michael befriends two significant characters in the book early on: Jewish British air force pilot Simon Cohen and his classmate Fritz Brendler. Michael, who was bullied as an Irish youngster in an English school, can’t help but defend Fritz since he is a skinny boy who is the target of bullies. Simon’s plane is shot down outside of Berlin on the same day that Michael and Fritz first become acquainted, and Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth group looking for the pilot. Simon is protected in their embassy at considerable personal risk by Michael, who locates him first, hides him, and returns with his parents.

Simon adds that the Nazis seized his camera when he was capturing images for the Germans’ Project 1065, a plan to construct a jet-powered aircraft. Unexpectedly, Fritz tells Michael about a unique project his father is working on—the Project 1065 plans. Since Simon can take the blueprints with him back to England if Michael can memorise them, he has a great incentive to develop his friendship with Fritz.

Michael advises that they practise together so that he may get to know Fritz better. Fritz aspires to join the SRD, the most potent and “scariest” (47) group of Hitler Youth. The lads find that the Nazis are now recruiting 17-year-olds directly into the military, which Michael understands is a sign that the Germans are losing because he has access to Allied information. The younger boys will consequently join the senior Hitler Youth, which includes the SRD, in a matter of weeks as opposed to a year.

As the initiation test entails jumping into a pool from a height of two floors, Michael is concerned that he won’t pass because of his acute fear of heights. Simon learns about Michael’s phobia after Simon discusses it with him. Simon’s phobia is of birds. Together, Simon and Michael spend time on the roof to help Michael get used to heights while also strengthening their bond.

Michael and Fritz are partnered together for the boxing battle during the Hitler Youth initiation ceremonies, and Michael is compelled to humiliate Fritz. Nevertheless, Fritz is genuinely appreciative of the fight because it demonstrates how tough both of them are. The only way Michael will pass the “courage test” (134) is if Fritz pushes him off a ledge and into the pool because he still hasn’t overcome his fear. Both Michael and Fritz enter the SRD, where they are each given a dagger bearing the inscription “Blood and Honor” (143).

As Fritz shows Michael his collection of British detective novels, their bond between them deepens. The detective stories give Fritz and Michael an easy method to bond as Michael has previously been reading and talking about detective novels with Simon (Simon shares his hiding place with the O’Shaunesseys’ own collections of forbidden books). In order to recall more of the designs, Michael occasionally sneaks into Fritz’s dad’s study. He later reconstructs these drawings with Simon.

But, Fritz discovers that the lads who bullied him before now fear him, and his new power starts to transform him. In addition to attacking his own teacher, who the SRD delivers over to the Gestapo due to his disloyalty, Fritz also conducts attacks against the Edelweiss Pirates, a group of teenagers who oppose Hitler. Michael realises that his pal and him are drifting away as he gets “meaner” (168). In addition, Fritz is selected to be a member of a secret special squad about which he won’t tell Michael. The 13-year-old boys are assigned the hazardous duty of operating antiaircraft weapons during air raids, much to the terror of Michael and his family.

The family needs to return Simon to England before Michael’s father can move the family out of Germany. Michael has a plan to elude the antiaircraft guns during an airstrike, meet Simon at a rendezvous location, and lead him to an intelligence operative who is waiting. A young boy confronts Michael after observing him tampering with the cannons to make them aim incorrectly and miss the British jets. Michael gets into a confrontation with one of the guys and coerced him into telling him about Fritz’s covert squad: a group of boys entrusted with attending a science conference and killing a Jewish scientist named Hendrik Goldsmit. Michael is horrified as the boy is suddenly struck by shrapnel and passes away. Simon has already left when Michael rushes to catch up with him.

The following day, Simon appears at the embassy. At the rendezvous site, he had to flee from a bunch of Hitler Youth, but he managed to return on his own. When Michael shares what he has discovered with his parents and Simon, they recognise Goldsmit as a scientist who is helping the Allies create the atomic weapon. Michael’s parents assume that the lads will pose as a science team to assassinate Goldsmit because he will be attending a conference in Switzerland, according to a newspaper article. Unlike adult Nazis, they will be permitted entry into neutral Switzerland as children. Everyone is in agreement that Michael needs to join the squad and halt the assassination.

Michael comes to the conclusion that the only way he will be accepted into the team is by proving his unwavering commitment to the Nazi cause after several unsuccessful attempts to do so. Simon is perfectly aware of how to accomplish this; Michael must hand Simon over to the Nazis. As Michael visits Fritz and discovers him destroying the books he once adored, he knows that the Nazis have thoroughly debased his young companion. Michael searches for another alternative. In an effort to put an end to a greater evil, Michael decides on the spur of the moment to turn Simon in.

Simon purposely provokes the Nazis into shooting him so he can’t be forced to divulge information, and Michael then directs the Gestapo to him. While Michael laments the loss of his comrade, he still has work to do. He ambushes a member of the special team, beats him while making it appear as though Edelweiss Pirates were responsible, and then replaces that teammate. Soon after, Michael departs for Switzerland, where he makes an effort to alert the authorities to the explosives intended to kill Goldsmit and the other visitors.

The other members of the Nazi team catch up to Michael when he rushes into Goldsmit and tries to smuggle him out in a cable car. Fritz, who was carrying the bomb the entire time, jumps onto the cable car’s roof to follow Michael. By ascending to the roof and fighting Fritz, who has turned into a devoted Nazi ready to die alongside Goldsmit and Michael, Michael overcame his phobia of heights. The suitcase bomb is successfully knocked over the side of the vehicle by Michael, where it explodes on the mountain and starts an avalanche. Fritz perishes as he falls, but Michael and Goldsmit both live.

In the book’s last chapter, Michael & his parents are getting ready to emigrate to America so they can continue to support the Allies and live in safety. Michael mourns the loss of both Fritz, who died as a result of the Nazis’ ruthless manipulation of young people’s bodies and minds, and Simon, who sacrificed his life to advance a greater cause. By the end of the novel, Michael, who takes pride in his own bravery and the sacrifices he made on behalf of the Allies, says that he, his parents, and the Irish “fought for freedom too” (303).

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Project 1065 is a compelling and dramatic book that offers a fresh viewpoint on the second world war. A look at the inner workings of the Nazi war machine and the world of the Hitler Youth are provided in the book. Important issues like loyalty, morality, and the price of war are also raised. Readers of all ages will find Alan Gratz’s story to be memorable and thought-provoking.

Writing Style and Techniques

The narrative style and structure used by Gratz help to create suspense and keep readers interested throughout the whole book. The plot is made deeper and more intricate by the utilization of historical accuracy and detail. Readers may identify with the characters and comprehend their motivations because to the well-written dialogue and character development.

Reception and Impact

Both readers and reviewers have given Project 1065 positive feedback. The book has won several awards and been praised for its engaging plot, fascinating character development and thought-provoking topics.

It is difficult to highlight in a classroom the importance of initiatives like Project 1065. Historical fiction readers have a special chance to discover historical facts in an engaging and approachable way. Readers may explore challenging subjects and moral quandaries while strengthening their critical thinking and empathy skills with books like Project 1065. This may help readers understand more about what it means to be a human.

About The Author

NameAlan Gratz
BornJanuary 27, 1972
BirthplaceKnoxville, Tennessee, United States
EducationBachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from University of Tennessee, Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts
Notable works“Refugee”, “Prisoner B-3087”, “Grenade”, “Code of Honor”, “Ban This Book”, “Ground Zero”

FAQs related to Projekt 1065

What is Projekt 1065 about?

Projekt 1065 tells the tale of Michael O’Shaunessey, an Irish-German youngster who spies for the Nazis at the age of 13. Michael utilizes his position as the son of the Irish ambassador to Germany to obtain intelligence for the Allies while feigning Nazi allegiance.

Is Projekt 1065 based on a true story?

No, Project 1065 is a fictional work. The book’s events and characters are not based on actual individuals or occasions, even though it takes place during the historical period of Nazi Germany and World War 2.

What is the significance of the title Projekt 1065?

Michael is sent to spy on a British airfield, and the book’s title Project 1065 relates to that airport’s code designation. It is notable because it exemplifies both the risky and clandestine elements of Michael’s job as well as the high stakes of the wider World War II fight.

What age group is “Projekt 1065” appropriate for?

The target audience for “Projekt 1065” is young adults and it is often regarded as suitable for readers aged 10 and above. When suggesting the book to younger readers, parents, teachers and librarians might wish to exercise caution because it deals with themes of war, espionage and brutality.

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