If you read ‘Surviving the Fatherland,’ you will likely enjoy ‘When They Made Us Leave,’ the new WWII novel that I based on true-life accounts of participants in Hitler’s youth evacuation program. It is a love story, a historical adventure, and like ‘Surviving the Fatherland’ provides a glimpse of German civilian life during the war—through the eyes of two teens.
Aside from reading many books that contained snippets of eyewitness reports, I went into Solingen’s city archives, in particular school administration records. There were few. Likely because the city was heavily bombed in November 1944 and many records did not survive.
I did discover a letter from a teacher who in 1941 accompanied a class of students to Johannisbad, a town 100 kilometers south of Leipzig in former East Germany, only to learn that nothing had been prepared. There were no beds, no food and nobody knew they were coming. Many situations and scenarios in the novel are based on these types of records.
Compared to ‘Surviving the Fatherland’ which contains some sexual content, ‘When They Made us Leave’ offers only mild sexual references. In other words this new novel is ‘safe’ to read for even young teens. It would also make an excellent resource for German history lessons.
Especially because little to nothing is known about this program in the U.S. Maybe because all the remaining resources and books are in German, and not only are eyewitnesses few and far between, but the children of WWII are dying out. And with them vanish their stories.
Read more about ‘When They Made Us Leave’ on my dedicated book page.
My designer decided to create a second cover which I found even more poignant than the first. I envision it to be Hilda, waiting for Peter, looking so forlorn and cold in the desolate landscape of her bombed hometown. It somehow represents some of the yearning she experiences in the story. I love it and I hope you do too!
The Kindle edition of ‘When They Made Us Leave’ is available on Amazon now. Paperback will soon be ready as well.
Next Reading/Nächste Lesung
Wo: ElkeS-Art-Salon, Julius-Raschdorff-Straße 63, 40595 Düsseldorf
Wann: Samstag, 9. November 2019 um 19 Uhr (Einlass ab 18.45 Uhr), Eintritt 15,- € inclusive Buffet und Getränke, Karten sind im Vorverkauf erhältlich, Tel. 0211-7052556
Thema: “So ein Donnerwetter” Moderation Kay Ganahl und Elke Seifert