- Paperback: 241 pages
- Publisher: Sid Harta Publishers (December 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1877059056
- ISBN-13: 978-1877059056
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,160,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pawn of War Paperback – December 1, 2001
About the Author
RUDI STIEBRITZ was born 22.3.1923 in Jena, Germany, the youngest child in a family of six girls and three boys. After graduating as a structural engineer (1942), Rudi was conscripted immediately to fight with the German forces on the Russian front.
The inhumanity of the war, and his subsequent years as a Russian POW had a profound effect on this author's philosophy of life and led to his Buddhist persuasion.
After repatriation, Rudi found life intolerable in East Germany under the communist regime, and applied to emigrate to Australia. Accepted, he and his wife arrived there in 1955, only to find that his engineering qualifications were not recognised in his new country. Undeterred, he took up bricklaying, and later worked in architects' offices in Adelaide, Gold Coast and Sydney.
A car accident in 1963 severely impaired his vision so the Stiebritzes bought a dairy farm near Beaudesert which they worked successfully for some years. In 1969 they turned to buying, restoring and reselling old homes, and in 1975 Rudi undertook a woodworking course for the blind, creating artifacts which, by wearing two pairs of spectacles one over the other on the good eye, he managed to decorate with folk art motifs. Using this 'double glasses' technique for the good eye, he also manages word processing successfully. The folk art led him to painting, and in the past decade he has had works included in several exhibitions.
He undertook a creative writing course with Access Arts in 1996; his course tutor became his collaborator on his war memoirs Pawn of War. Recently Rudi has had multiple heart bypass surgery but still finds the time and energy to supervise a sheltered workshop for SWARA; to undertake tertiary course in Sanskrit; and to prepare a dictionary of Sanskrit terms that apply to Buddhist teachings.
Top customer reviews
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He takes a very honest look at his life and describes things as he saw them. Surprisingly uplifting for a book about war on the Eastern Front. His experience in Soviet captivity was quite a bit less arduous than many other accounts I have read, possibly stemming from his affinity for the Russian language and some fantastic luck. I would very much like to meet this guy. Just a person caught up in something not of his making.. neither a fanatic nor a resister.
It is estimated that about 1.5 million German POW's died in Soviet labor camps (gulags), a good portion occuring after the end of the war in May,1945. Also many of the hundreds of thousands of German civilians (including women) deported to the Soviet Union as slave labor were never heard of again. Rudi was very lucky. For another view of German POW life in Russia, read "The Good Soldier" by Alfred Novotny.
The Rudi Stiebritz comes across as an ordinary young man, thrown into battle in the prime of his life. From that perspective, his account is quite similar to that of any American soldier in the war, except that his side lost and he then spent three years in the Soviet gulags.
There is no grand strategy here, and no large-scale view of the war. What we have is a solidly written, engrossing view of life as a German soldier, wounded in battle, realizing his nation will lose the war, and sent to labor in Siberia. It is history written on a human scale, from one man's perspective, and I simply couldn't put it down.