Books, Writing, History, and the Ritchie Boys

In "Books, Writing, History and the Ritchie Boys" I share my thoughts on certain books, the process of writing, the experiences of an indie-publisher, short pieces on WWII and the Holocaust, highlights of places from Immigrant Soldier, and, occasionally, profiles of Ritchie Boys. Everything in this blog reflects my personal ideas and feelings–a memoir of sorts, it is my perspective and any errors or omissions are mine.

Meiningen, A Hometown Revisited

Both my father and Herman had fond memories of their hometown, Meiningen, located in the southern part of the state of Thuringia, Germany, and just over the border into what was, from 1945 until 1990, East Germany. I was able to travel there in the Spring of 1991 with my elderly parents and one of my sisters. The thing that made the biggest impression on me was the deserted border crossing about 15 miles before we arrived in town. The stark gate and concrete barriers scarred the gently rolling green hills and reminded us why this was my father’s first trip home since he left in 1934.

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Beyond Anne Frank: Holocaust Books for Youth and Teens.

Summer is almost here. It is a good time to encourage students, who are freed from homework and after-school sports, to expand their reading beyond school-mandated curriculum. The Diary of Anne Frank is widely used as a way to teach young people about the Holocaust, as well as a tool to challenge prejudice and promote respect for others. This diary of a 13-year-old girl has become required reading in many 7th, 8th or 9th grade English classes. The 10 books listed below, in the order of the age group for which they were written, can broaden a student’s perspective beyond Anne Frank.

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Kindererziehung or Growing up with Struwwelpeter




When Herman sits huddled under blankets on the tossing deck of the Husima Maru during his winter crossing of the Atlantic, he thinks of many things from his childhood, including the scary picture book that his father sometimes read to him.

Recent Comments
Guest — Donna Becker
Katie - This is so interesting! Donna B
Friday, 05 June 2015 14:20
Guest — Joanie Rowe
That was an interesting piece. Children don't come out of the womb with hatred and dislike for certain people or religions, it is... Read More
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 08:48
Guest — Kathryn Slattery
My special thanks to Les for sharing his own experiences with Struwwelpeter! K. Lang-Slattery
Thursday, 11 June 2015 08:43
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Loss of Citizenship the Nuremberg Way


In the second chapter of Immigrant Soldier, Herman speeds toward home on his motorcycle, his mind a swirl of thoughts.

He knew it was finally time for him to make a move, but he had no idea how to escape. He was without a passport and no longer considered a citizen of the German nation. He had been declared a Jew, even though he had never worn a yarmulke, lit a Hanukkah candle, or set foot in a synagogue. He knew nothing of Jewish culture or religion, but all four of his grandparents had been Jews long ago, and now that was all that counted in the Third Reich.”

 How did Herman and millions of other German citizens of Jewish heritage lose their civil rights overnight?

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Historical Fiction - How Old Does It Have to Be?

Recently I gave a talk about Immigrant Soldier to a local organization and, during the Q & A session, a lady in the audience took issue with calling the book historical fiction. From her perspective, World War II seemed too recent. “After all,” she said, “to my parents this was their life! And I was born during those years, so it’s not really history to me, either. Shouldn’t a book called historical fiction take place in a much more distant past?"

Recent Comments
Guest — Janet Long
I was taught somewhere along the lines that "history" was remote enough in time for scholars to be able to approach it objectively... Read More
Friday, 22 May 2015 12:12
Guest — Denise Viviani Stefanyszyn
If it was a piece of furniture you would have your answer.. Within 100 years it is vintage.. I feel that yesterday is "History".... Read More
Friday, 22 May 2015 13:19
Guest — Kathryn Lang Slattery
Quite a few readers sent their comments to me via email. Because this discussion seems to have touched a cord with many of you, ... Read More
Friday, 22 May 2015 16:01
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