It is Friday evening and I just had a nice day of sailing on a nearby lake with a friend of mine. I told him that I am in the process of writing a novel based upon things I experienced in Berlin at the end of WWII and he asked me what triggered me to write about a subject that was long forgotten.
I told him that there are several reasons and trigger points.
But, if I had to name the most compelling reason it would be the fact that most of the books I read about WWII were written by officers who more or less glorified the actions of their troops. There are books describing the heroic actions of pilots, or submarine commanders, of tank commanders and infantry conquerors.
However, very little is written from the perspective of the common foot soldier.
But nothing, absolute nothing has been written by the 14 and 15 year old German boy who was drafted to fight for an idea he could not understand. We were supposed to give our life for a fatherland we never experienced because we hardly knew about our father who was also drafted.
I have to be more specific here. I am not writing about the 14 year old in western Germany who surrendered to the American or British or French forces.
They were in a “different” war because they were fighting a civilized enemy.
I am writing about the 14 year old of Berlin who was first a designated camp leader of 10 and 12 year olds and then hungry and frightened. He knew that he was now facing the brutal Mongolian Soviet forces, which took in the last 3 days of the war no prisoners.
Some of us died at the hands of our own SS.
But hardly any of us survived.
None of the few of us who did survive wrote about it because we had no “voice”.
However, now in the digital world of self publishing and as one of the very few who are still alive and able to report about, I think that I have a story to tell.
Don’t expect a master piece of literature. English is my second language. As you will see….it is a very simple story….about a forgotten time.
A time you will have problems to understand because you were not there.
But, don’t worry, if you have any questions……I will answer ……..I am still around.
I have just finished all three of your books. I started with the prequel and read through until I completed all three. I was mesmerized by your stories. Do you ever intend to follow up on what happens to Karl and Harold? Is Karl reunited with his parents; does Harold find his father; what happens to Alex; etc??? I am left in limbo wondering about all of them. Please let know what happens to them.
Again, thank you for your very, very interesting books.
Sorry to read that my stories left you in some kind of a “limbo.”
It was not intended that way. I really thought that I could get the series out much faster. Actually, I had only planned on one (1) singular book, but questions similar to yours kept propping up and ……..now I find myself behind the eight ball trying to catch up.
The story of Karl will more or less end in the fourth book: “Partners to a degree” and will continue with Harold, Godunov and Alex. Harold lived an extremely interesting life while my own became just ‘ordinary’. So, I will report about Harold. Our path crossed a few more times and we stayed friends until he died a few years ago. He left me plenty of notes to enable me to write about him.
Thank you Carol, for your interest and your very kind comments and for being such a loyal reader. I will try not to disappoint you. Promise.
Take good care,
I just finished reading all three books and am so moved by your story. Thank you so much for sharing your very unique and human story. I am so anxiously waiting for your next book to hear the rest of the story.
God Bless you Karl
I am a cheerleader for getting people to read your books!
Thank you soo much for reading my books and for being my cheerleader.
Wow, I don’t know how to answer this.
I never had a cheerleader and I think that this calls for a celebration.
Cheesecake comes to my mind, (you can never eat enough cheesecake! )
Matter of fact, Harold liked them too. Whenever we met, later on in life, we always ordered cheesecake
in the Cafe’s. The only drawback was that it was never sweet enough for us. So, in order to overcome
this dilemma, we went first to a grocery store and bought some sugar. The waiters or waitresses were always kind of shocked when
they served the cake and we rolled them around in the sugar….Well, I guess you had to be there to appreciate their disgusted face.
( coming to think about it……. I will write about it in one of my further books.)
Thanks again, Nancy and I am wishing you a “Happy Day”!
Loved your series, started with “Children to a Degree”, then devoured the other three books. I now look forward to the follow-ups for both Karl and Harold.
Those strong Prussian traditions of work ethics, promptness, wearing makeup, parlor etiquette for children, etc, which you expressed so clearly in “Children to a Degree” were part of my early childhood experience as well, but to a lesser degree, so, it was interesting to learn of the roots of those traditions.
You answered many of my questions in your replies to the comments of others. However, I am wondering if you had any formal faith training before the Hitler onslaught? I was impressed with your kindness and deep concern for the well being of others at such an young age.
Thank you for your personal insights about this terrible period of history, and God Bless,
First of all, Thank you for your interest in my books.
In regard to your comments I wish, now in hindsight, that I described in more detail the great difference between a Prussian up bringing and the current vogue in the USA. But, the difference is so vast that many readers would not believe it. I see here, in the US, children with a life experience of maybe ten years, interrupting the discussion of a father and a grandfather with a combined life experience of over fifty years …. and the adults not only tolerate it but find it “cute” or amusing. If we would have dared to do this, well, suffice to say that the grandfather would have not allowed us to visit him again. Ever. Period.
You had to “earn” the respect of your elders to be allowed to visit them. To speak up, or interrupt them was at the very least annoying and at the worst could lead to immediate punishment.
Was it better then? No, not by any measurement, but it surely was different.
You are asking, Pauline, if I had any formal faith training. No, Absolutely not.
But, I had the admittedly childish belief that if I would be kind to the ones next to me ….. then maybe somehow, somewhere, someone would be helping my siblings and my mother….and…. maybe my father would survive. It was a simple belief without any conditions or reservations. But, I believed it and acted in accordance with it.
Thank you for your blessings, Pauline, you are very kind.