Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Book 42: German Boy
In my latest book, I decided to explore World War II yet again. This time I read the book German Boy: A Child in War by Wolfgang W. E. Samuel. It was an interesting book that I was glad to read.
One of things that drew me to this book was the fact it was about life as a German refugee. It showed a different aspect to the war and life after the war. It also didn't highlight the Jewish problem during World War II.
I really liked this book. I loved the perspective. Sometimes you need to break away from the holocaust stories focusing on the Jewish problems in the war. This showed how difficult it was to leave the home you knew and were a refugee. Wolfgang and his family, they became refugees by fleeing Sagan once they realized the Russians were coming and that would too dangerous. So they fled to Berlin. But Berlin was under attack too. So soon the family moved to Strasbourg and then fled to Tauren. He lived under both the Russian and American rule. It was great to see the differences between the two different rules.
It still amazes me how brutal the Russians were and how quickly Germans would switch political ideals. Strasbourg was a great example. Late into 1945, it still had a huge NAZI strong hold and forced Wolfgang into joining the Hitler Youth. But by the time he returned to Strasbourg, they changed their tune. Now it was a city which had a secret police and communism running amok. Wolfgang and his mother would struggle since they weren't political and they were always outsiders to the city.
I really got drawn to Wolfgang and his love for America. He was really inspired by the Americans. To see how much he appreciated the Berlin airdrops and how that even helped his refugee camp, it was inspiring. It was great to see how the air drops were able to help not just the city of Berlin but other sectors.
One of the things that get lost in the book is Ingrid (his sister). She was there but if almost felt like she was an afterthought. But he did say really late into the book, Ingrid was quiet and they weren't that close. Plus for the first part of the book (the part that talked about 1945), Ingrid was really young. So she wouldn't have a huge part to play other then to follow her mom and brother.
But all in all, I liked this book. I learned alot about a part of the war that gets forgotten- there were many Germans that had their lives destroyed by the war and became refugees, it wasn't just the Jewish, gays, communists, and other social undesirables. Plus you get to learn a lot about the differences between the Russian and American sectors that developed after the war.