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In Search of The Lost Ones: The German Soldiers of Transylvania in the Second World War and Their Stories Paperback – November 22, 2011
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About the Author
Ms. Emrich is one of the many descendants of these Transylvania Saxons. This is her first non-fiction book. She is active on the web and writes two blogs: Things About Transylvania, and Living a Life of Writing along with her work writing on Transylvania.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book also made me very uneasy, because a lot of the time when we think of German soldiers and the Second World War, we think of the genocide against the Jews. From there conversation about German soldiers shuts down. And so it does among the people of Transylvania too - who are of German descent, moved to Romania as part of an agreement with King Geza 11 and were eventually co-opted to fight a war that was not theirs.
I also found the preface in each chapter well-written, very eerie. He's an example... "The sniper crouches in his snow-covered tree, waiting. He knows that soon a train containing more enemy targets will arrive. He covers his mouth against the bitter cold and prepares. His requirements: white camouflage and a perfect target, one that will strike panic in the others. No one will see him. He needs to make certain there is no chance of escape. He grins when he hears the distant sound of the train and sees the plume of smoke rising up against the land. His targets are coming. They are never human - to consider the targets as such would be harmful to his duty to his country. His only job is to kill, and he lost count of the dead many years ago. The train slows to a halt and with the heat from the steam and the grinding of the wheels the cold and silence is broken. The train door rattles open. Out of the train jumps the first target, and the sniper takes careful aim, and as he pulls the trigger, the sniper sees the face of the man, his gentle brown eyes darting around in the light as if he has seen the sniper... then the target... the man... falls, unmoving, to the ground."
Makes you think doesn't it, that if we saw the enemy's face, if the enemy was a human being in a soldier's mind, if they were men instead of targets, there might be fewer wars.
In Search of the Lost Ones is a good book and I recommend it highly, especially for people who are not just looking for facts, but want to know about the ordinary people behind the historical events.
It has so many interesting historical facts. The author obviously had to do a lot of research to put this book together, and many people had to do some deep soul searching to provide the material for the book.
Its a thought provoking book because it makes you wonder how many people in your life right now could be having such a rich history, rich but mixed with painful memories. We only see the smiling faces that they choose to show the world but inside, there could be scars that no eyes can see.
Its a great read and you wont be disappointed. I'm looking forward to her next book.
I did like reading about the traditions, especially about the names. We always joke in my family how my grandparents and all the people living in their village shared the same five first names. After learning of the traditions, it now makes sense. My grandparents came from the village of Sharosh (spelling is probably incorrect) which I'm guessing was in Southern Transylvania since they were not amended to Hungary like the people in the book. Also, most people from their village who emigrated settled in Pennsylavania and then Chicago, not Canada like in the book.
Two stories of my own relatives. My grandfather Michael Salmen, fought in WWI (not WWII like the book). He was a member of the artillery and was subsequently hard of hearing. He also had a piece of shrapnel in his earlobe. I remember my sisters and I crawling up onto his lap and Grandpa letting us feel the piece of shrapnel. I could make out the darkened shape. He was in a hospital in Italy when the war ended and he had to walk all the way back to his home. I thought of him as I read about the young men in the book who had to walk so far to find their families.
Also, my grandma's niece was affected by the war. Her name is Susanna and she is 94 ands till living in Austria. When WWII ended, her husband, Andreas, was away with the army and she had a 7-year-old daughter also named Susanna. The Russian overran their village of Sharosh and took all the women 18 or older as prisoners. She was forced to work in a labor camp in Konstantinovsk, Russia at a tin factory(mine). She was there for five years until her health failed. Then, the Russians sent her to eastern Germany because she was of no further use to them. Her daughter was now twelve. How much she missed! She was also reunited with her husband and another daughter, Renate, was soon born. When an opportunity arose to leave East Germany a few years later, they jumped at the chance and settled in Austria. Their last daughter, Andrea, was born. Through luck and persistence, my mom and I were able to get in touch with Andrea and she has visited us twice. I also met another woman name Polina ( a distant cousin) who also went to the camp and told me a little about it. I was kind of hoping some of this was covered in the book, but it was not.
As I stated earlier, if you have family from Transylvania who lived through the war, this book will prove interesting.