Loyal To A Degree






Growing Up Under The Third Reich – Boxed Set: Books 2 – 4

World War Two Historical Fiction Novels Based On True Stories


As 14-year-old Karl Veth listens to the German special OKW report, the news he has feared and anticipated becomes a reality. Russian tanks have broken through the German defense lines east of the KLV evacuation camp in Poland where he and 120 other German boys are living. The time has come to leave the camp and return to Berlin. Despite his young age, Karl is a trained member of the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) and assistant to KLV camp leader.

After returning to Berlin, SS leaders learn that Karl, as well as his best friend Harold, are subway rats, and the SS takes advantage of the boys’ knowledge and orders them to act as guides for SS demolition commandos in the subway tunnels. The SS cannot be trusted and the boys walk a fine line between life and death, as they work together on a secret plan.

As members of the Hitler Youth, Karl and Harold have been taught that loyalty to the Fatherland comes first, yet they are fighting for a cause they do not understand. Hungry, scared, and completely disillusioned with the war, they realize they can only be loyal to a degree, and are forced to make a crucial decision – live or die.


On May 3, 1945, Karl Veth is kicked awake by Soviet soldiers and arrested. He and Harold had narrowly escaped death during the fall of Berlin by taking refuge in the subway tunnels under the city. Hearing the announcement the day before that Berlin had surrendered, they left their subway shelter to seek out friends where they thought they would be safe. Somehow, the Soviets had found them. But what did they want with them?

After being transported to an interrogation center and brought before a Russian Political Kommissar, Karl soon finds the answers to his questions. Once again, he is going to be used by a high-ranking official due to his unique knowledge of the Berlin subway system. He must agree to help the Kommissar or risk being shipped off to the Russian labor camps along with the rest of the German prisoners. When Karl learns that Harold has also been arrested and given the same choice, the two agree to assist the Kommissar.

The boys work with the Kommissar and when the last mission is completed, Karl hopes to be released so he can search for his family. Unfortunately, the final mission ends with a twist and Karl is once again forced to make a life-or-death decision. This time, however, the life hanging in the balance is not his own, but that of someone very close to him. To save the life of the person he holds dear, Karl must decide whether or not he will follow orders and do the one thing he has never done before – take the life of another.


While Karl wrestles with the final order from the Kommissar, Harold devises a secret plan to help his friend. Meanwhile, the Kommissar, continually surprised by Karl and Harold’s ingenuity and resourcefulness as they complete each mission, develops a fondness for the boys. He offers to adopt them both and take them to Russia with him when he returns. Holding out hope they will eventually be reunited with their families, they refuse the Kommissar’s offer. Unfortunately, only one boy’s dream of being with his family again will come true.

The ravages of war dramatically changed their lives and while both have suffered the loss of loved ones – one has lost more than the other. One boy will struggle to put his life back on track and the other will embark on a path of revenge – fueled by grief and anger at the lies that caused his loss and the destruction of his homeland.

Book1 in the series, CHILDREN TO A DEGREE, is free to download separately and can be found HERE.