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auf Wiedersehen: WWII Through the Eyes of a German Girl [Kindle Edition]

Christa Holder Ocker
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Cities in ashes, endless bread lines, potato soup by candlelight, people herded along with whips, soldiers in splendid boots and swastikas everywhere, a little girl with chestnut pigtails reaching for her first Hershey bar–these are a few of the images that come to life in this award winning memoir.

About the Author

Christa Holder Ocker is a NY Times #1 Best Selling contributing author. Her stories have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul, Pre-teen Soul, Unsinkable Soul Sister's Soul, Hooked on Hckey, Devotional Stories for Tough Times, and Miraculous Messages from Heaven. She began to write short stories after years of domestic doldrums. Her story, "Merry Christmas, My friend," translated in many languages, was adapted for TV and starred Mickey Rooney. She loves writing, sailing, skiing, and frolicking with her 12 incredible grandchildren. Ocker's memoir auf Wiedersehen: WWll Through The Eyes of A German Girl is her latest work, published by Plain View Press, the Kindle edition published by Rogue Phoenix Press. Q and A with Christa Holder Ocker Why did you write this book? Throughout the years I have been asked What was it like growing up in Nazi Germany? With countless others of my generation, I shared the guilt of the holocaust and evaded this question for a very long time. But when an ex-Nazi youth became our pope, I decided it was time for me to acknowledge the past. If you were lecturing about your life and book to a Jewish audience what would you most like to say to them? Only love can conquer all. I say this with conviction, because my oldest son married an Israeli girl, whose father is the only survivor of his family in the holocaust. And now we share in the love of our grandchildren who are raised Jewish. How did your childhood in Germany shape your adult life? I believe I am totally aware of the necessity to speak up, to act, when things are not right. This does not always make me popular, but it is a trait I consider essential to my happiness. Your stories are incredibly vibrant, did you keep a journal or is your memory that keen? Once I started writing, once the floodgates were opened, the memories were vivid and close.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1983 KB
  • Print Length: 130 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press (13 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #241,053 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Auf Wiebersehen 1 Mar. 2010
This is one of those occasions when I am really pleased I was offered the book for review. Being a US publication I doubt it's a book I would have come across by myself and am really glad I got the chance to read it.

Christa Holder Ockler is a great writer and really brings the past to life. I really loved the way she incorporated German into the dialogue - it really added to the atmosphere. I could really sense the time period and the horrors they witnessed, and I never doubted that I was seeing this through the eyes of a child. Christa came across as very lovable and sweet, and you could really feel her sadness every time she had to say goodbye. Her journey with her family is an interesting one - I loved hearing about all the history and how it affected them.

One minor quibble is that it is a very quick read for a memoir spanning quite a few years - I would have liked it to be longer - it felt a bit choppy in places - but this is mainly because I enjoyed it so much. I also was left wanting to know more. What happened to them all after the final page?

Overall this is a really interesting insight into what it must of been like to be a child during the war. If you can get yourself a copy I would recommend you giving it a try. Due to a couple of scenes of a sexual nature I would be slightly uncomfortable recommending this to younger readers, otherwise I think fans of Anne Frank's Diary would love it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh and enlightening perspective 30 Dec. 2009
By Kathryn - Published on
Lately, I've been having something of a World War II binge. I watched Band of Brothers from start to finish while concurrently being enthralled by the National Geographic documentary Apocalypse: World War Two. Then auf Wiedersehen landed on my doorstep. It was, as it turns out, the perfect complement to my self education in the horror of previous generations. Not only is it a memoir, it is a memoir of a young German girl and the impact that the war had on her and her family, a vice we don't often hear from. The story picks up in the final scenes of World War Two - the Russians are closing in from the East, the Americans and the British approaching from the West. Hitler's Germany is disintegrating and as a result, her people are suffering.

Some 50 million people died as a result of this war: soldiers blown up in trenches; civilians bombed in their homes; Jews, Gyspies and homosexuals persecuted and tortured for not fitting the ideals of a madman, and more. It's just too colossal a figure to give any serious emotional or intellectual consideration to. The horror is too much, the body count too high. No words can stretch far enough to do it justice. Which is where this book excels: it doesn't try to. It quietly tells the story of one girl and that's all. Occasionally there are facts about recognizable events from the war in the narrative: the bombing of Dresden, the liberation of the Treblinka concentration camp, the bombing of Hiroshima, but overall the narrative focuses firmly on the domestic and the interior. Something we can all relate to and process.

Forced from their comfortable home, Christa and her family are made refugees. They are homeless and at the mercy of those around them. Their mother's Prussian pride takes a beating, their stomachs are left empty and they endure the heartbreak of having to constantly say auf Wiedersehen to those they hold dear. Yet, through it all, their spirit triumphs - particularly Christa's. Her effervescent personality and headlong enthusiasm for life beams out from the pages as she falls in 'love' with one boy after the next, puts on puppet shows with new-found friends and prays fervently to God to get her out of attending school.

This book is a quick, yet satisfying read. I read it all on the evening that I received it and enjoyed every last page. If there were anything to criticize about this book, however, it would have to be its length. I got to the final pages and wanted to know more - it seemed that there could be so much more said and explored. What happened next? How did they cope with the next set of new circumstances? At 142 pages, there was certainly room for more story. Having said that, the 142 pages that we do get are very good. Holder Ocker writes beautifully and the character of her younger self is engaging and loveable. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in WWII, loves memoirs or simply enjoys a good, well-written yarn from teenaged readers through to adults. You won't be disappointed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of honor, love, strength and hope... 14 Oct. 2009
By Bethel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This touching and well-written book is the universal story of many immigrants who suffer displacement and loss because they seek a better and, more importantly, more honorable life.
The children's escapades within the ruins of war are funny and heart-warming. The loss of home is heart-wrenching and palpable. But it is the strength of Christa's mother to undertake this journey that is particularly admirable and visionary.
Christa Holder Ocker has the ability to portray in her characters those unique attributes which allow the reader to understand why such a journey from a previously comfortable home to an unknown, but hopeful future, was undertaken.
It is a book well worth reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Auf Wiedersehen Review 19 Jan. 2010
By Kathleen Kelly - Published on
Auf Wiedershen by Christa Holder Ocker:

World War II Through The Eyes Of A German Girl tells the poignant true story of a girl(Christa), whose father (Vati) is serving in the German Army and the mother (Mutti) who is left behind to take care of Christa and her older sister Rosel. Mutti is a hard working and very proud woman who has nothing good to say about the Nazis and Hitler in particular. The story takes place more towards the end of the war in Gorlitz, Germany. Mutti and her family, including a neighbor, Frau Omichen and her son Gunter, are evacuated from the only home they have known where they had lived a peaceful, comfortable life. They now have to say auf Wiedersehen, thus the title, to all they know and hold dear. They leave their home without money and only what they can wear and a few valuables which they need to sell to eat and have a place to live.

The story takes place over a six year period telling the struggle of this family trying to live as normal a life as possible under sometimes deplorable circumstances. When Vati finally finds his family after the war, he and Mutti decide that they will go to America. With the assistance of an old friend of Mutti's, that is what they do but they need to get across Russian checkpoints first which was not an easy task.

In short chapters the author is able to put across successfully to the reader the story of her young years, the daily struggles and sometimes good times that her very strong family lives in during the aftermath of this war. She describes the people they meet on this journey, including other family members that they find. There are good times and little celebrations that enable this family to stick together no matter the circumstances.

I enjoyed the story very much, it reminded me a bit of The Diary of Anne Frank. The hard times were told in such a way as to not make a depressing time for the German people hard to read. During a war story we more often than not hear the American side of the hardships of war and we do not often get the chance to read about how this war affected the German people. The story only touched briefly on the concentration camps because this family was not in one and I think that to keep the innocence of the main character it was not really part of their story.
This is a must read if the history of WWII is interesting to you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! 28 Dec. 2009
By Lawral Wornek - Published on
This slim memoir chronicles the years between Christa's family's evacuation before the advancing Red Army towards the end of WWII and their immigration to New Jersey. During this time, Christa, her sister, her parents, and, at times, her aunt and cousins, must pick up and move at a moment's notice on multiple occasions. Christa, who is an outgoing 7 year old at the opening of this memoir, makes many friends as she goes along: a horse named Lottie, an American soldier who gives her Hershey bars, the once-cranky owner of the villa where she and her family were placed during the evacuation, and the multitude of children who are also in some state of homelessness like she is. Every time her family moves, she must say goodbye, auf Wiedersehen, to her friends. It is hard enough, even with the help of the Red Cross, to keep track of family members during this upheaval. Christa is under no illusions that she will ever see any of these friends again.

Still, this is an uplifting memoir about how, even in the depths of war, life goes on. Christa and her friends play, put on puppet shows,\ and generally make do. The horrors of WWII are not kept out of this book, but they are kept out of the children's consciousness. Overheard conversations covering everything from the atrocities of the SS to how Christa's friend Gunter managed to get a little brother even though she wished for one more are present, but not understood by Christa. Readers will know what is going on, how it is affecting the lives of adults, and how much trouble they go to in order to keep the worst of it from their children.

This was published as an adult book, but I could definitely see even young teens reading it as part of a WWII or memoir unit. Content wise, auf Widersehen shows a lot less of the atrocities than current populars for young adults dealing with this subject matter, The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and it is a very un-prohibitive 142 pages short.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Life of an Ordinary, Decent Family Amidst the Moral and Physical Horrors of World War II Germany 29 Nov. 2010
By dance lover - Published on
There are wars around the globe, and the headlines allow us to loose track of the moral and physical struggle that confronts any ordinary, decent family caught up in these events. What we see in this book is a rare glimpse into issues, both small and large, that affect the existence and evolution of such a family. We learn, for instance, what chores and accomplishments need to be mastered to survive, how the moral issues are handled within the framework of extreme threat to loved ones, and how the determination to leave and get to American become steps to be mastered.

What makes the book so readable is that the weighty matters which must be handled are balanced by a portrait of an innocent and appealing young girl and the personalities of her parents, siblings, and friends - so that we enter a world that is as endearingly human as it is philosophically challenging.

This book rounded out my views of World War II Germany, providing me with descriptions and facts which I never had the chance to think about before. I recommend the book strongly to teens and young adults as well as to adults who will be taken to a world that ranges from the friendships and dreams of young children to the harsh realities of adults coping with conditions that are imposed on them rather than chosen.
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