Happy Labor Day!
I hope you get the chance to take a break from everyday life today and spend some time with your loved ones.
In anticipation of my upcoming WWII release, Where Treetops Glisten, I’ve teamed up with my co-authors of the book and some other author friends of WWII fiction for a blog tour and giveaway! (Details are at the end of this post.)
Here is a fictional diary entry from Helene, one of my characters in From Dust and Ashes. This World War II novel was published in 2003 and I continue to get letters from readers who love this story. You can read Helene’s full story in From Dust and Ashes.
Many years have passed, but I remember September 1, 1939 more than most days. Hitler’s armies had invaded Poland, and Friedrich, my love, left for training. We’d been married a little over a month and the future looked bright. I was a wife, and our country Austria was once again united with the motherland Germany. The autumn weather nipped my nose, but excitement caused my limbs to warm. Our country would be victorious. Our future would be bright. And my love was off to do his part in seeing that our future children wouldn’t live under that same shame and defeat that our parents and grandparents lived under.
My father didn’t seem as excited. It’s almost as if he heard the pounding of Nazi books crossing borders and shrunk back in dread. He’d grown up in the village of St. Georgen. What did he know? Father had looked at the building of the great stone fortress with dread, but I saw things differently. I saw it as proof that our enemies would soon be defeated.
Years passed and I believed destiny had been kind to us when Friedrich was sent home, to work in the place they called a “concentration camp.” How lucky we were that we could live in one of the new cottages just outside of the new camp, Gusen. It had been easy to ignore the rumors of what was happening behind the stone walls of Mauthausen. It was easy to look away when the prisoners walked down the streets of St. Georgen on the way to the quarry. I witnessed cruelties, but those are the effects of war, aren’t they not?
But when the camp Gusen was built just beyond my door I could not always look away. The prisoners matched right past my door, and I was shocked and dismayed. These were not enemy soldiers, but young men and old men. Teachers and doctors. They had not fought on the front. Most were considered enemies for the fact they were Jews.
I tried to talk to Friedrich about what I saw, but the pain in his eyes was too great to bear. My tender lover became an animal. Not overnight, but day by day. Atrocity by atrocity.
He started drinking then, too. There was hardly a day he didn’t come home drunk. The man I loved was gone. The innocence of my devotion to the Nazi regime was crushed. As I saw skeletal men fighting for one more day, I knew I had to do something. Those poor, poor people drew my pity, and I made an oath to myself that if given the chance I’d do what I could to help them.
The day the Americans came to liberate the camp, I offered my help. I had no idea then that when they opened those camp gates that the path to my personal liberation had begun.
Friedrich abandoned me that day, but the witness of compassion, after destruction, started a healing in my heart. It was then my life, my eternity, was forever changed.
For a chance to win ALL EIGHT novels featured on our blog tour, please visit each blog, collect the answers to the questions, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway on the BLOG TOUR PAGE. The contest closes September 6, 2014, at 11 pm PST, and winners will be announced on Monday, September 8, 2014.
To win the prize of ALL EIGHT books, you must collect ALL EIGHT answers. The winner must be prepared to send ALL EIGHT answers within 24 hrs of notification by email, or a new winner will be selected.
You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway on the blog tour page once each day! The more often you visit, the more entries you receive! However, you only need to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway once to be entered. But don’t forget . . . to win, you must have collected ALL EIGHT answers. Good Luck!
Also, don’t leave the answer in the comments. Save them! Then, if you are chosen, you’ll be asked to provide the answers via email.