Run from the red tide. My latest novel
My latest novel is based on a true story and is the product of much research coupled with first-hand testimony from some of my main characters, whose names have been changed in the story for reasons of privacy. The manuscript is currently patiently looking for a publisher.
To give you all a taste of the story here is my synopsis.
Based on a true story this novel tells of the fortunes of a family residing in the small German town of Brieg in Silesia at the time of the Second World War.
The Schröders are a working class family enjoying a happy and satisfied life, even after the father Erwin is conscripted into the army in 1939; at last a steady income for the family in the difficult financial climate they thought. They had no inkling of the misery that was to follow.
The story opens in 1943 with their daughter, Lena, the eldest of a family of three girls and two boys, preparing to leave school early the next year and hoping for a job in a large department store.
They have not seen much of the war, being at the eastern extremity of Germany. Their only knowledge gained of air raids is via refugees from the large western cities. Discussion of such things with these refugees was discouraged, to the extent of being considered traitorous or defeatist, and punishment could involve sentencing to a work camp or worse.
Erwin comes home from the eastern front, where he was once only forty kilometres from Moscow, and tells his wife Elisabeth of their trials and retreats, but presses her not to tell the children. A careless word could see the whole family punished, particularly Erwin, bound to the military law of secrecy.
In 1944, having so far avoided joining the Hitler youth, Lena was sent for continued education to Country School three hundred kilometres away in Pomerania. During her time there, her father, now posted to the Western Front, is reported missing in France.
Only at the last minute do the people of Brieg realise the seriousness of their situation as the radio and press are continually boasting of victories. The Nazi Gauleiter of the Lower Silesia forbids the civilians to flee the area under pain of death until he gives the order, which comes too late for many. Elisabeth and her five children, one of them four months old Karin, struggle to flee from the advancing Russian Army, seeking shelter and solace where they can.
There is a similar situation at the country school in Schneidemühl, Pomerania, where Lena finds herself trapped with twenty-nine other girls and a few members of staff, suffering attacks from air and ground in their efforts to escape.
Lena needs to find her mother and vice versa. Neither of them knows that father and husband Erwin is a prisoner of war in England. Each fears the others to be dead, and it is a worrying and traumatic time until they eventually learn otherwise.
In the meantime, Elisabeth must endeavour to keep her family safe from marauding Russian soldiers who seem bent on revengeful pursuits. She seeks to hide away with her children deep in the countryside but even then events dictate a further move to safety.
The final reunification of the family does not come about without further shocks and dangers when Elisabeth makes the decision that they should flee to the Western zone of Germany with the children and join her husband. More info in my blog.