This week my short story BITTERSWEET was published by The Write Place At the Write Time, a literary magazine. Like BLACK MARKET, published in April 2014, this story tells the struggles of three kids/youths during and after WWII from the perspective of civilian Germans. As mentioned in the byline I began interviewing my parents about their childhood in 2002. Out of these talks and recordings grew a novel-in-stories, spanning fourteen years of harrowing adventure, but also a love story.
Kids like my parents, born in the late 1920s and early 1930s, were tossed into the most evil war of history without a choice. Without a chance to escape. They had to endure a harrowing time of threats, starvation and emotional hardship. Yet, they persevered. Little triumphs carried them. What we’d consider unbearable today was for them a fact of life. Imagine eating grass soup because your kitchen is bare. Imagine walking a mile to fetch a bucket of water because your faucet delivers no water. Imagine waking in the middle of the night to the screech of sirens and the whine of carpet bombs and then running, running to the bunker to wait… trembling whether the bombs will hit you.
As the last of the war children die off—my father Guenter is 85 years old—it appears that we may be ready to learn more about this mostly ignored viewpoint of Germany’s civilians.