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German Boy: A Child in War Paperback – October 16, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1945 Samuel, then 10 years old, fled his home in Sagan, Germany, with his mother and younger sister, escaping just ahead of the Russian army's arrival. The author's memoir vividly depicts what it was like to be a child refugee (confused and frightened) in postwar Germany, constantly searching for food and a haven. Since Hedy, the author's mother, had been planning to divorce his father (a Luftwaffe officer), she refused to join him, but instead took Samuel and his sister to stay with her parents in the small town of Strasburg, which shortly became a Russian-occupied zone. Although the author had earlier viewed his mother as self-centered and unloving, he describes how his image of her changed during their years on the run, when he saw her make heroic efforts to keep her children alive. Attractive to men and clever, Hedy used her wits and charm, exchanging sex for food for her children. Their situation improved after the author's father found them and managed their transportation to a barracks in the American zone. Samuel's parents divorced and, in 1950, Hedy married a U.S. Army sergeant. The author moved with them to the U.S., where he completed his education and began a 30-year career in the air force. He has produced an engrossing and powerful narrative. Maps. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Samuel was 10 years old when he, his mother, and younger sister fled the advancing Russian army in Germany in the final days of World War II. Describing the events many years later, Samuel still vividly remembers the disorientation, terror, hunger, and desperation that dogged their lives until 1951 when they arrived in the United States. The voice of a little boy develops into that of a young man as he writes of his mother's indomitable spirit and the degrading extremes she went to in order to obtain food and shelter for her children. The boy is ill-prepared to assume the crushing responsibility for keeping his family together and alive after the war years when he finds himself a refugee and outcast in his own country. There is a thread of hope, an appreciation for random kindness, and an ability to look beyond the depravity of humankind that pervades this brave and poignant memoir of a man who went on to serve 30 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a colonel.
Cynthia J. Rieben, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Top customer reviews
and the towns people are caught in the middle of the fighting and because the lack of compassion on the part of
a few causes real problems for the towns people.
After reading another book called "THE UNKOWN DEAD" a story about the people who went thru the "Battle of the Bulge"
and still another "When the Smoke Cleared at Gettysburg" I began to see the REAL looses are the civilian's
I love history and have read a lot off accounts of the battles from every one involved, but never had seen the peoples
Sad the REAL looses in any battle are still the folks who live in the land and place of the battles one gets a view of real life.
and what woman are forced to do to try and keep their families alive is very sad indeed
I know of only a couple of his stories that came out over the years. I especially remember the story of how my grandfather smeared horse dung all over a small cask of bandy so that the Russian soldiers would not take it. I also managed to get the stories on how each family member escaped from East to West Germany. But that was about it.
After reading this book, I felt closer in knowing what my family went through. It is difficult to imagine how one could survive in such an environment. In reading this book, I began to feel embarrised on just how much I take for granted. I also began to wonder if my own grandmother was molested by the Russians. It would explain a lot if she was.
I would like to thank the author in giving my a better picture on what my family went through. My father had many friends (other refugees at the time) and they all seem to have a big adversion to telling us "youngsters" about what it was like and how they managed to survive. I owe Mr Samuel a debt of gratitude! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!
The amazing ending is brighter days ahead in America where he is able to come as a teenager and gives back to his adopted country. Stephen Ambrose brought this true story of survivial and courage where Wolfgang notes that it was easier to survive bombings during the war than the realities of its aftermath.
I would love to meet Ret. USAF Colonel Samuel and thank him for writing such a compelling book of his youth. It helped me understand the earlier generations my family in New York much better.