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Nov. 9th, 2013 – The rest of the story

09 Nov

I will now take you to the end of the war. It started for me when my father was drafted into the Folksturm (Germany’s last effort to win the war) – we all knew it was futile. The country was out of finances, out of provisions for the armed forces, or what was left of them and mostly out of any kind of ammunition. All men between 12 and 75 were drafted into this disastrous effort. My father was one of them. Somehow my brother was over looked – two of my cousins, 13 and 14 were drafted and later found in Siberia. Jan. 4th, 1945 will be fore ever burnt into my heart, spirit and mind as the very worst day of my life. I heard my parents arguing over the situation. My mother begged him to cut his leg with the ax he was using to cut firewood for his family to use in his absence. Her reasoning was that with an injured leg he would be excused – and the words she said to him made a positive impact on me “by the time it heals the war will be over”. To a child the words of a parent are fact and the time frame for a 9 year old is different from and adult’s. The war did not get over until May – a very long time without my father. When I heard him walk away, crunching the frozen snow under his new boots, wearing a uniform I had come to view as the most evil sight put the greatest fear in my young heart. How would we survive ?
We didn’t have much time to ponder in guessing for the Russian troops were coming very near to our city. We had learned to tell time by the sound of the gunfire and the foot steps of solders marching in the distance.
Fast forward to when the day finely came that the war was over – that is the war for the country – the personal wars were just beginning. Now, that we didn’t have to fear the bombs anymore the longing for a stable life and some food, besides the meager rations we had come to expect became very real with no government to control and provide until the American military took charge. But they were still the enemy – until we learned the difference of the American GIs from the German and Russian solders.
My introduction to this difference occurred in front of the deserted train station when the GI handed me a Hershey bar – the first chocolate I had ever tasted, not even heard of.
Have you wondered about the title and cover of the book ? Now you know the rest of the story!

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