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Partners To A Degree Paperback – June 23, 2014
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About the Author
Horst Christian was born in Berlin, Germany in 1930. His father, a mathematician and a banker, taught him to read and write before the age of 5. He discovered his love for writing by the time he was 10 years old and wrote vacation reports and several articles for the German school periodical “Hilf Mit.” When Horst was 10, he entered the “Jungvolk,” a subdivision of the Hitler Youth, which was mandatory in the Berlin school system. He then entered the Hitler Youth at the age of 14, also mandatory, and continued writing for the Hitler Youth periodicals “Der Pimpf” and “Die Deutsche Jugend Burg.” His favorite pastime was playing in the U-Bahn (subway) tunnels. While other children played soccer, Horst, with a few other likeminded children, explored Berlin by riding the subway trains. Drafted to help defend Berlin against the Soviets at the age of 14 because of his unique knowledge of the subway system, he served as a guide for various SS demolition commandos. In the early 1950s, Horst immigrated to the United States and became a US citizen after the mandatory 5-year waiting period. He loves to travel and has visited all 50 states in the US, most of Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and some Central American countries. He now resides with his wife Jennifer of 42 years, in Northern California, where he has been for the last thirty years.
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Karl Veth was overjoyed to be reunited with his Father; but was angry at the Kommissar for using his Father’s life as a tool to get Karl to eliminate an enemy. Karl had come through World War II without having to use his skill as a sniper to kill anyone and did not want to do it now. It seems as if he doesn’t have a choice. He understands the Kommissar’s reasons but doesn’t have to like them. All Karl wants is to take his Father to Westphalia where his Mother and two siblings are now living. First they have to get out of the Russian held portion of Berlin.
Harold Kellner is still reeling from the death of his Mother after repeated rapes and beatings by a Russian unit. The Kommissar was able to find his Mother and bring her to Berlin before she died so her son could be with her and for that he was grateful. However, he felt nothing but getting revenge for her after she died. The Kommissar has also located his Father; but he is being held in Spandau prison for war crimes. Harold takes the Kommissar’s offer to take him under his wing and give him the best education Europe has to offer and a place in the Russian army leadership. This will mean he and Karl will be separated.
Each boy has to choose the path he will now follow since the war is over. They must each stay true to their own values or change them to fit the path they chose. The choice is never easy. The series is an excellent one of two boys who are intelligent and ambitious in the Third Reich and who resist the indoctrination of the Third Reich by questioning what they learn.
As for Harold, the harder of the two boys wise, the one more resolute and ruthless in many ways, I find an interesting protagonist. He makes choices, including leaving his father behind to go to Russia that ate very German and very understandable and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
While they are "true" stories, I suspect that some license has has been taken by Mr. Goring. Some of what the boys accomplish seems to be too good to be true.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed all four books immensely. While the stories may not have been completely authentic, they give a great glimpse of Germany during this period. Highly recommended.