German Boy: A Refugeea[a\xACa[s Story

Wolfgang W. E. Samuel, Author, Stephen E. Ambrose, Foreword by University Press of Mississippi $35 (372p) ISBN 978-1-57806-274-4
In 1945 Samuel, then 10 years old, fled his home in Sagan, Germany, with his mother and younger sister, escaping just ahead of the Russian army's arrival. The author's memoir vividly depicts what it was like to be a child refugee (confused and frightened) in postwar Germany, constantly searching for food and a haven. Since Hedy, the author's mother, had been planning to divorce his father (a Luftwaffe officer), she refused to join him, but instead took Samuel and his sister to stay with her parents in the small town of Strasburg, which shortly became a Russian-occupied zone. Although the author had earlier viewed his mother as self-centered and unloving, he describes how his image of her changed during their years on the run, when he saw her make heroic efforts to keep her children alive. Attractive to men and clever, Hedy used her wits and charm, exchanging sex for food for her children. Their situation improved after the author's father found them and managed their transportation to a barracks in the American zone. Samuel's parents divorced and, in 1950, Hedy married a U.S. Army sergeant. The author moved with them to the U.S., where he completed his education and began a 30-year career in the air force. He has produced an engrossing and powerful narrative. Maps. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-7679-0824-5
Hardcover - 592 pages - 978-0-7531-9832-2
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