Since I published my books I communicated with some of my readers of my age who were born or still live in Germany.
This communication resulted in some specific questions (from me) and the results are astonishing.
My first few questions were simple enough: Did you had a bout with Diphtheria in your preteen years, specifically between 1932 and 1937?
My follow up questions were more specific, but I will not bother you with the details. However, the answers are pretty astonishing.
All of my readers who underwent hospitalization during their illness had the following in common:
1) They never needed a hospital stay for any other illness.
2) During their lifetime of over 80 years they never needed any kind of medication, except some blood pressure prescriptions.
3) None of them experienced or is subject to any allergy. No hay fever or any kind of food intolerance’s, such as gluten or lactose or glucose intolerance.
4) None of them likes or drinks alcohol. Except, maybe a glass of wine with their meal.
5) None of them had the need to see a physician during the past 70 years. Except for an injury, eyeglasses, or as I stated above, for blood pressure observation.
6) While none of them could remember any birthdays or other specific events before the age of four, they all had vivid memories of their illness (high fever hallucinations) and their hospital stay.
7) None of them is a diabetic or has a problem controlling their weight. In other words, none of them is overweight.
8) And, finally, all of the people I asked are still in vibrant health and active. Mentally as well as physically.
Yes, I know, this is not a comprehensive study and it wasn’t intended to be, but it leads to the question if the treatment of Diphtheria, in Germany, in the thirties, caused the interesting similarities, or was it the illness itself?
Or, is this all coincidence?
Hmm, coincidence? I know of two ladies who instead of wasting their years solving crossword puzzles, started to learn another language at the age of 83, just as I decided to embark on a new career as a writer.
I’m not in the medical field but do find your findings interesting. While I know this was not intended to draw any final conclusions, I am curious as to the number of people you have spoken to. It would be a very interesting study if someone took it on.
On a side note, I began reading the series of books with “Children to a Degree” and just finished “Loyal to a Degree”. I have found both books thus far fascinating and can’t wait to start the next one. One question I have is if you truly held hope to the last minute that a “wonder weapon” would be employed. At one point Karl felt that it was too early to go into hiding because a wonder weapon could be used to win the war even though all signs pointed to the reality that it didn’t exist. Karl seems so intelligent and adept to “connecting the dots” that I was surprised when I read he still believed.
Also, I have read and watched documentaries about the weapons being tested by the Germans but what did you hear or believe these weapons could possibly be? Was it blind hope and faith or were there plausible ideas of what these weapons would be?
Yes, I fully agree that while my findings are interesting, they are far from conclusive. Most of all we have no data from the people who had this ailment in the early thirties but died in the meantime. The likewise answers came from about 30 of my readers. What started my questions was the astonishing similarity of mental alertness and the total ignorance of ones age. None of them felt that they are old and retirement is not on their mind. However, learning another language, taking on a productive hobby (no, not golf) such as welding, building another home for yourself (no, not selecting carpet colors) but installing a roof, becoming computer literate at their middle or late eighties or starting another career is a common denominator. The other similarities surfaced when I started to ask pertinent questions.
It might very well be a coincidence, but in any event it is thought provoking. Isn’t it?
OK, Your question about possible “Wonder Weapons.”
In order to answer you correctly I have to take one step at a time.
First of all, yes we were brainwashed. Furthermore, this propaganda was supported by the success of our V1 (Vergeltung eins = Revenge one) and V2.
Rocket propelled unmanned weapons employed against England. (Werner von Braun the German father of the Saturn rocket was also the inventor of the V1)
There were constant reports about successful experimentation with “heavy water” and splitting of atoms.
The ‘plausible idea’ was that it would take only one (1) bomb to cause England to sue for peace.
History taught us, however, that it took the Americans two (2) bombs, remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
It also stopped the Soviet Union from their advancements in Europe and resulted into a cold war.
Yes, JP, I also agree that it was kind of faith and hope …. but what else is left when you are 14 years old, without parents, hungry and afraid of the enemy and your own SS teams?
Thank you for your interest and your questions JP. They are very much appreciated.
All the best to you,
That Is astonishing, coincidence or not. Interestingly, my own parents (father b. 1911, mother 1913,) were extremely healthy and my father lived into his late 80s with no real health issues except angina (chest pains) and Mom was very health yet developed Alzheimer’s which would claim her life 10yrs from her diagnosis, she was in such good health otherwise.
Of course all this is moot when you consider that during the War they were here in the States, (my father was needed at the Boeing plant,) and they were not under duress even in the Great Depression due to their fathers’ occupations.
It could be that the German hospitals used some kind of medicine unknown to us Yanks that was a “wonder weapon” against future maladies! I wonder if someone reading your blog is a Dr or knows some way to get your small experiment funded – perhaps SOME medical records survive from that period and some dots could be connected! 😉
Yes, the similarities area astonishing and I am with you that there should be some records of the medical treatments at that time.
It just happened that I stumbled on these health parallels and thought that they might be of interest to my readers.
Thank you for sharing your short story about the longevity of your parents.
Wishing you a “Happy Turkey,”
There is nothing redeeming about war. The fact you survived is a blessing for all as this is the first time I have read about German’s youth during WWll. Thank you for the insight. Dorothy
Thank you for taking the time and commenting on my books.
Wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving.
All the best,
This is my first encounter with any of your books and am thoroughly enjoying your book, ”Children to a Degree”. I am fascinated at the abilities that the children of your generation were able to develop at such an early age. Today so little is expected of children, and consequently they develop little until a much older. It is encouraging to hear about their abilities, but sad that the children of today are missing so much!
Thank you for pouring yourself into your writing. I really believe that anyone who reads your books will gain a much greater understanding of the youth of Germany during this stressful time period. It is always a good thing to grow.
Thank you very much for your enthusiastic comment. It confirms that I was on the right pad when I decided to write about these “forgotten” times.
I agree with what you are indicating and I like to add that we should start to demand a little bit more. If we don’t, we will wind up with a whole bunch of “20 year old children” moving in with their parents again. I know that this is a touchy subject and some readers might not agree, but after all, we harvest what we seed.
Thanks again, Alicia and take good care,
I have read your book Children to a Degree and found it amazing. I enjoy reading about history and found this book as a free download. I must say I will be purchasing the remaining three books. I will also be passing the books to my grandchildren as they are readers of history and I want them to learn the truth of WWII.
It saddens me to learn of the treatment of the children in Germany. You are a hero.
Please continue writing about Karl and Harold. I feel like I know them and what to learn more.
Thank you for your very kind comment. I am not so sure about the “hero’ part.
Now, I know that we grew up under difficult circumstances but at that time we had nothing “normal” to compare too.
We did what everyone else did, we tried to survive. I also think that pure luck had a lot to do with it.
And, sorry to say, many of us were not so lucky.
I am grateful to read that you find my books sufficiently valuable to pass them on to your grandchildren. Thank you, Joyce, also for the encouragement to write more books. Believe me, it is very much appreciated.
Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas,
I have read all four of your books in about two weeks and just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. They kept me interested and intrigued and I couldn’t put them down. I am a voracious reader and will definitely be rereading them sometime in the future. I have always loved history, especially anything to do with World War II and Germany and your books told about a seldom talked about aspect of that time period so well that I felt as if I was there, too. I hope you will continue to write books because you have a wonderful talent for making the words on the page transport the reader to a pivotal time in history. I have a question for you. Is there anything about the current American political system that reminds you of Germany pre World War II and, if so, how do we keep it from reoccurring here?
I hope you have a very merry Christmas.
God bless you,
Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a comment.
To answer your interesting question, yes I think that there are quiet a few parallels as well as some worrisome differences.
In my answer, please consider that an author should never engage in a political dialog and as you experienced in my books I try to write in a very balanced manner.
Having said the foregoing, I think that the most obvious similarity is the governmental incompetency to achieve or maintain fiscal responsibility.
Hitler printed money without any backing and sorry to say, we do presently the same. History showed us the consequences. This might be a minor worry (for some people).
The huge and elementary difference, however, is the fact that the weapons of 1945 could not reach the USA mainland.
Today we have clearly enemies who are being supported by governments, who have weapons which can reach any spot in the USA.
To talk about “same sex marriage rights” will not make this threat disappear. Off course, if we wish, we have the option to stick our head in the sand.
For the second part of your question I have no simple answer. This is a country in which the citizens are free to elect their representatives.
This is a good thing. It is up to the citizens to use common sense. But, then again, common sense is not so common anymore.
Thank you, Tara, for your interest in my books and I sincerely wish you and yours a blessed Christmas season.
PS. Take good care, Tara, this is not just a saying.
It is important, you know?
I am just starting to read “Children to a Degree” and learning just what my German Aunt went through during World War II. Before her death, she and I had several talks about the German people of the time. She grew up in Heidelberg and her family was rather well off at the beginning of the war. She told me that believing in Hitler and his regime was all they knew. But, she also had a handicapped brother, and the family refused to allow him taken to be taken by the state. Apparently, the family suffered because of that and she really wouldn’t talk about what they went through to protect him. Your book is giving me some insight into just what her family suffered.
She also told me that her family practically disowned her when she married my Uncle, whom they referred to only as “that American G.I.” One brother refused any contact with her after their marriage. Fortunately, in later years, she reconciled with most of her family, and my two cousin’s now try to make yearly visits back to Heidelberg and their Mother’s family.
I will be buying the rest of the “to a Degree” books to learn more of the lives of the German peoples of that time. Thank you for allowing me a closer look into that Germany and a deeper look into the world my Aunt lived through.
Love and Light,
I am sorry to read that your family broke up because your aunt decided to marry an American G.I.
These kind of incidences took place all over Germany and many families never found the way to each other again.
Your aunt’s family also suffered by protecting her handicapped brother. It was a good thing that they didn’t give in to the state.
You don’t say if her brother was mentally handicapped. If he was, then it would have been a given that the family would have never seen him again.
Mentally handicapped men were treated equal to homosexuals. First as forced labor in concentration camps and later send to the Russian front to serve as cannon fodder.
Let’s hope that we will never encounter likewise times.
Thank you for reading my books, Kathleen, and I appreciate your comments.
Should you have any questions regarding this time period in Germany, please don’t hesitate and contact me. I’ll be happy to assist you.
In the meantime I wish you all the best for the New 2016.
Love and understanding,
Your books have given me greater insight in the mindset of a German citizen during the war. I read all four books and enjoyed them immensely. I always believed the heinous atrocities committed at the concentration camps were not common knowledge to many Germans. You showed both the compassionate and absolute evil of various nationalities. Wonderfully written and nearly impossible to put down. Thank you. I look forward to your next book. I’m hoping for a follow-up to “Otapmir’s Last Commander”
Thank you very much for your interest in my books and I appreciate that you took the time ‘on New Years Eve’ to write a comment.
Wishing you all the best and a healthy and peaceful 2016,
PS. I am not too sure what you mean by “Otapmir’s Last Commander” but hope to be in good company.
Over the last couple of months I have read all four of your “to a Degree” books, beginning with “Children.” I became very emotional at the end of “Partners” and am still a little weepy as I write this.
Thank you for sharing. I am sure it was difficult at times. It has given me an insight that all the history books and TV documentaries ever written could not possibly achieve.
I just wanted you to know of my appreciation, and send you best wishes and God’s Blessings in this new year.
Thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful compliments.
Please be assured that I appreciate your wishes and blessings as they confirm that I was able to connect with you.
As a writer I cannot think of a greater reward. Thank you so much.
I like to wish you the very best and a healthy and peaceful 2016.
Take good care,
During the late 1960’s I was an American soldier serving in what was then known as West Germany. I had a German friend who told me on several occasions that I could not understand what those times were like for those people. I am still trying to understand that and other things he told me. Just finished Children To A Degree and find that you have advanced my understanding remarkably. Thank you so very much I definitely want to read the other books in that series. Gary
Thank you very much for your comment which made me think how fast the times are changing.
I most certainly agree with you that an American, born in total freedom, would have a difficult time to understand the Germany of the 1930s and I am gratified to read that my book shed some light on it.
Thank you, Gary, for your interest in my other books and if you have any particular questions pertaining to Berlin and the thirties, please feel free to ask. I’ll be happy to answer.
All the best, and take good care,
First, let me say that historical fiction is my favorite genre. I have just finished reading all four of the “To a Degree” books. They are a wonderful and fluid read that draws the reader into 1930’s Berlin.As a Jewish child, while growing up I heard very different accounts of Germany, it’s citizens, W.W.II etc.. In all of my life I have never thought about how the war affected anyone other than those people who were not persecuted during the Holocaust. These beautifully written books helped me to empathize with those Germans who were brainwashed into participating with Hitler’s lies. I am very grateful for these stories which are helping me to empathize with all the others who suffered under his monstrous reign!
Thank you, Nancy, for writing your thoughtful comment.
We both know that no amount of books can ever render a true and understandable account of Germany from 1933 to 1945.
And even if this could be done, the reports would vastly differ depending upon the location.
Berlin, under the onslaught of the Soviets was not Frankfurt and the horror of the concentration camps was not known to the children forced to be soldiers. We can only hope that the future leaders of the free world will be guided by history.
All the best, Nancy and take good care,
Hello Horst. I hope this finds you and your family well! I write to you from SW Oregon. I just read your series this month of May and am continuing research on the Third Reich era and Germany today. I am astounded that both your and your comrade Harold maintained your core values throughout those years of horrific war. I followed your story with ease, growing up mixed-blood in a redneck community that ostracized me just for who they believed I was. I found many similarities in your upbringing and my own. We were raised to be responsible little adults and we would never dare think about bringing shame upon our hard-working family for any reason. It was a pride and a way of life that I don’t find too often any more.
I also cannot believe how much I did not know about Hitler and the Third Reich, and the propaganda we were fed in US grammar school about the nature of wars. Thank you for taking on this task of writing about that life as it has been the most enjoyable time I have ever had with an author’s journey! I was sad that the next in the series has to wait. Perhaps it is time for me to learn a foreign language while waiting.
Thank you for taking the time to post your very much appreciated comments. I find it interesting that you are living in SW Oregon. Living myself in northern California I have visited SW Oregon on many occasions and just returned from a trip to Grants Pass. I guess that you are living west of I-5 ?
You mentioned that you might learn another language and I cannot encourage you strongly enough to do so. You will be able to use your knowledge in many ways and far more often than you are currently imagining. Let’s stay in touch Sarah, and let me know how you are doing. Should you have any questions about the days of the surrender in Berlin please let me know and I will endeavor to answer. Thanks again, for your very kind compliments and I hope that my new series about Harold in Russia will also be of interest to you.
Take good care,
I enjoyed your series on the Loyal all 5 books so much,Ihave read rhem akk 5 times, and have told my friends akk about them, when will more be written on Harold and Karl? You ate one of the best writers ever, pplrase norify me when?
Thank so mich ,yours sincerely Paul Rochon
Thank you very much for taking the time to comment on my website.
I hope to have the next book (about Karl) published by the end of November and will post the exact date here on this site.
As always, we will offer a discount during the first few days of publication.
Thanks for your interest, Paul. I sincerely hope that my future books will live up to your expectations.
All the best,
Hello Horst! I have just finished reading Postwar Survivor (book 1) and was happy to reconnect with Karl. It was interesting to hear of the post-war opportunistic schemes that developed in Germany, perhaps one of very impactful American exports you received from us.
I am a retiree and a Vietnam War vet. living “right up the road” from you in Southern Oregon. I’m anxiously awaiting book 2 so get off the blog and go to work!
The best to you and yours, Tom McG.
Thanks for your comments. Yes, we had some interesting schemes with American input, after the war, in Germany.
And, some of them were real money makers. I am thinking about the American fascination with antiques. It was a profitable enterprise for the German farmers who wanted to get rid of the old furniture, (we called it garbage) it was profitable for the soldiers who bought it, shipped it to the US, and finally it was a moneymaker for the dealers in the US.
My next book, about Karl, describes same details about these ventures. Even the Russians made some money on it. Interesting times, mostly due to the constantly changing values. I am having a real challenge writing about these times without insulting anyone. I mean it is easy, nowadays, with the political correctness. Maybe, if I am lucky, I am able to convey, what it was like.
Thanks, for reading my books, Tom, and thank you for your service during the Vietnam War. Let me know, (by using the contact email, on my website,) when you are traveling through Redding, CA.
It would be nice to meet you.
All the best,
I have read and enjoyed all of your books. As an avid reader of WWII history I have always been concerned how an entire population could be brainwashed and follow such rigid laws and rules. I think you did a great job showing how people can be manipulated, coerced, and step by step forced to go along with rules they do not agree with.
One area that I am interested in learning is at what point did you and Harrold learn about the concentration camps and how you dealt with it? Knowing you were brainwashed and as a child often not aware of the atrocities, do most people try to not think about it or was there some group therapy as people tried to find ways to deal with the sadness and guilt.
Thank you for taking the time to educate and inform us with your well written and fascinating stories.
Thank you for your interest in my books.
Harold and I learned the horrendous details about the concentration camps during the Nurnberg trial. But, we had a hard time believing it.
Off course we knew that when people got arrested they wound up in Labor camps. We were told that this was a place for homosexuals and complainers, as well as unproductive people such as insurance agents, artists, people engaged in trading and not actually working.
Personally, I don’t think that there was such a thing as group therapy. At least, I never heard of it.
See, Annette, WW II in Germany cannot be compared to normal times.
For example: During the time that the Berlin schools were still functioning, we had once a week a silent half hour in which we stood, with bowed heads, to remember the classmates, or parents of classmates, which got killed during the past week. If one of the children started to cry we were told to get over it. The Fuehrer had declared total war and we had to understand that it was normal to lose family members, and friends. If we wanted to survive we needed to grow up. Hitler had no use for cry babies.
That was it for counseling or therapy.
Believe me, when I say that I toned my books way, way down.
I appreciate your question, and like to thank you for your kind compliment.
Take good care, Annette,