Why I wrote my book
I always wanted to tell all, but what a better way than in a book. I told my family first my small anecdotes from my life. They suggested to me to put it all together in a book form and try to get it published. It had been accepted at once. It was a bit of a struggle first, as my English was not perfect yet, but as time went by, I think that I crack it. It is now my second edition, and I must say that many people have read it and liked it, especially, being able to read from a German woman’s view to learn some unknown details.
Only a few months ago, I had been asked to write something about the last few days before the war ended and the time just after. Not much was known of those details. I have written “Aftermath,” which can be found on my Web Site, besides other stories, poems and many photos.
To get the full picture, I have also related stories of two friends, one story is called “Rebecca,” Rebecca whose father was Jewish He died in a Concentration Camp, but his daughter had been traveling from town to town through Germany, to escape arrest. It is a very interesting and moving story. Also the story “Lieselotte,” is most interesting, living through the Hamburg Blitz, being sent to Prague and then to Bavaria to live in a Hotel, where she, her family and others were nearly starved to death. No-one liked refugees.
I am really glad that I wrote the book and the stories, to give people an idea about all events. I had a happy childhood and a good job, then being sent to a Labour Camp! To this day, I can’t understand, how ordinary people can turn, almost overnight to raving beasts. When the SS wardens went home in the evenings, they played the loving fathers, when they had minutes before smashed a baby’s head against a wall.
Libraries and schools have bought my book, and many times people came back to buy more to give as presents.
My last 10 books had been bought by one person.
Now I have none left to sell here at home.
Why I wrote my book under the category
The times just after WWI were very tough. 9 Million People were unemployed, and had to live on RM5.00 a week. This went on until 1933, when Hitler won the Election. My father was shocked. I heard him say, “Oh, not him.” I expect that many people were not happy with this outcome, but as slowly the country recovered, people started to like him, except some of course.
People had work and could take part in organized holidays, which most workers had never experienced. Then all workers had to join the Nazi Party, to keep their jobs.
We had then moved to a different place, as father had an offer for a better job near Hamburg, where I started school at 6 years of age. There, near the river Elbe in a wooded area we lived pretty isolated. I had no playmates and was now looking for companionship in the Hitler Youth, the BDM (girls.) I enjoyed it. It was not really political for us, except we did some exercises (military style,) but no-one knew that all those new activities where designed for a revenge war.
In a boarding school I attended, we were shown a green coloured map, showing us protectorates, which were all of Europe. Being young girls, we could not visualise it, unless we had a war coming. So we dismissed it as a lot of bunkum.
We all knew that the treaty of Versailles was too harsh and it would bring a lot of problems in the future. I always thought and do still now that after wars, the loser should still keep his territory, because it gives reason for more wars. This should have occurred to all politicians anywhere.
Now the inner uproar started with the hatred of Jews. The many reasons why the hatred of Jews grew to a crescendo is because, 60% of top jobs had been taken by Jewish people in Germany. I think that people, who are clever enough to climb the career ladder, deserve an excellent job. I can vouch for the German shops owned by Jews that their prizes have been very reasonable, and the accusations by Hitler, and his loudmouthed Propaganda Minister Goebbels that all Jews were exploiting the German people, were used to whip the German population into frenzy of hatred against the Jews.
In our little village, and living very isolated, we did not know of the treatment of the Jews in towns, beaten and pulled into the streets and then being taken and transported to Concentration Camps. Eventually we heard of Concentration Camps as being hard Labour Camps for people who opposed Hitler. Not much attention was paid to this. The first arrests were in 1934, and Jews were taken in 1938 but nearly all were released after a while, but their homes had been confiscated, and they had to live very primitively. The reason for this was, to build bigger concentration Camps to house many more Jews. This I did not know, until I befriended a woman in England, whose father was a Jew and had to undergo this treatment. I will not say more about this, because I wrote my friends story, and named it “Rebecca.” It can be found in my Web Site.
One time Hitler passed through our village. I waited with two other children to see him pass by. No other soul showed up. Nearly all villagers had, because of the hard times years ago, turned to be Communists, and had not adapted to be Hitlerists. I heard later that in Hamburg and in Leipzig Hitler appeared only once, but never returned again. There he did not receive the welcome he expected. A friend, who lived in Berlin told me, when Hitler was due to appear there, people from Bavaria went quite willing to be transported to Berlin, to give Hitler support. Also thousands of Jews were hidden by Berliners not to be found by the Gestapo.
I was then, as a child, really not aware of all the trouble brewing in Germany. I was occupied to take exams to have a good job to apply for.
War had now broken out and the propaganda was getting really serious. Hitler’s and Goebbels screaming on the radio were, I think, abnormal. Their voices alone made me clinch.
I did not think too much about the war at first because, I thought it was true that the lost territory, after WWI should be taken back.
The biggest shock came, when 3 Million German troops invaded Russia. Father said, “Now we lose the war.” And I was in tears, because my girlfriend and I, we both fantasised about Russia. We loved their music, the balalaika, the Russian way of dancing and their vast country. We did not think of Stalin once. We learned later how Stalin treated his own people. The starvation they had endured just after the civil war. We did not know about the killing and treatment of innocent people, sending many to Gulags, where conditions were a Health Hazard and many caught Tuberculosis. Melizia were sent to farmers, who had to pay set taxes, even when their crops had failed.
The very next upset for me was the treatment of Russian prisoners, explained in my book, I learned about the many casualties of RAF and American bomber crews, working at the Telegraph Office, where all names and their ranks were sent by Telex to Berlin and from there to the Swiss authorities, to be send to London. Day and night our Berlin Telex machine was occupied passing these messages on.
I also read about German Deserters, who were searched for, or caught. No mentioning of German loss of lives on the fronts.
My arrest by the Gestapo happened in January 1945, by then I had met Polish slave workers, who worked for the Heinkel airplane factory, who had been in Auschwitz for almost 4 years. They did not tell me anything about Auschwitz because they did not know me well enough to trust me, but by then I heard about some of their suffering, but my eyes were opened when I had been sent myself to a Labour Camp. When travelling by train to work in the bombed-out Leuna Works, I observed men from the multiple Labour Camps being mistreated. I have written all about this in my book. Staying in the Labour Camp, the 400 girls from all occupied countries were mistreated cruelly. I learnt more and more terrible deeds the Nazis dished out.
Then, when arriving home, father had just received a notice to join “Dad’s Army” (“The Volk’s Sturm”) to defend Leipzig. He had to go, because the SS would have come and shot him and perhaps all of us if he refused to go.
I can’t tell enough how happy I felt, when I saw the first American Sherman Tanks past by our home. I went on the Balcony and waved, and I was glad that they waved back.
This is the reason, I wanted to tell all and what better way than in a book.
It is in a Biology/History form and it is liked by my readers. I am publishing one comment from a buyer on my home page Web Site. There are also True stories told to me by my friends.