Rose Seiler Scott

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April 14, 2015
by Rose Scott
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Flight and Expulsion of Ethnic Germans

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It was not quite dawn as they turned onto the road headed southwest…towards the river Oder which had frozen over this winter. An endless caravan of people were fleeing their homes in hopes of crossing into German-held territory, away from the advancing Red Army. Silhouetted against the bleak sky were covered wagons, carts and wheelbarrows loaded up with bundles and furniture piled so high they looked like they might topple. Oxen and horses strained at their load. Animals led by rope and halter bleated, brayed and squawked as they were pulled reluctantly along.  p. 152 “Threaten to Undo Us”

After the massacre of German civilians by Soviet forces at Nemmersdorf in October of 1944 many Germans fled west, towards the other Allied Powers. Those who stayed in their homes and farms, waiting for official word from the German army, often found it was too late. In January and February of 1945, civilians, mainly women and children fled in panic towards the Oder-Neisse line, which Stalin had already determined would become the new border between Poland and Germany. When the Red Army caught up with them terror reigned. Wagon treks were machine gunned and plundered and women of all ages were routinely raped.

April 4, 2015
by Rose Scott
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Wehrmacht on Parade

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When they reached Kiev, its citizens watched as thousands of prisoners marched in columns, behind trucks mounted with loudspeakers and Soviet flags. Guards on horseback guarded the flanks of the bizarre parade, but it did not stop men, faint from hunger and exhaustion, from collapsing in the street.

Every bone in Ernst’s ankles pressed painfully onto the fallen arches of his foot. Each step was agony, but he knew that to stop marching, to fall over, was certain death.  (p.183 “Threaten to Undo Us”)

Of approximately three million German soldiers captured by Soviet Russia, it is estimated that over one million never returned home.  The POW’s were rarely afforded appropriate provisions, shelter or medical treatment, but suffered appalling conditions as they fulfilled war reparations to rebuild the Soviet Union.

In 1956, the last prisoners were repatriated.

For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_prisoners_of_war_in_the_Soviet_Union

March 28, 2015
by Rose Scott
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Wehrmacht Army in Russia 1941

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Caught in a deep rut, they dug the wheels of the wagon out only to sink again a few metres later.

Halfway back to the base, the horses collapsed.

The sight of their frothy mouths and quivering ribs made Ernst feel ill. “Take off their harnesses,” he ordered Horst.

“Blitzkrieg,” a lightening war was what Hitler called it and with General Guderian’s plans utilizing modern weaponry, there was every reason to think Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union would be successful for the German Reich. But as the average Wehrmacht soldier was to discover, the plan did not account for the Russian landscape or ferocious winter climate, in which their machinery became largely useless. Just outside of Moscow, the campaign stalled and the Red Army was able to mount an offensive, considered to be the turning point of the Second World War.

Photo: Sowjetunion-Mitte (Kursk).- Pferdegespann in tiefem Schlamm eingesunken; PK 698  Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-289-1091-26 / Dinstühler / CC-BY-SACaught i

March 20, 2015
by Rose Scott
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Łódź to Litzmannstadt

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“I’m out of sugar,” said Liesel. Usually she would have just gone to the neighbor, old Pani Zawadski,.. “I was going next door to borrow some.”

 Ernst shook his head. “You can’t,” he said. “I am on patrol and I cannot be seen to be associating with the enemy in any way. And that means you cannot mix with any of the Poles either.”

Ernst had said little about what he was doing. Some sort of police work Liesel assumed. She did not really want to know, but her life had definitely changed.  She thought about all the ways that their lives had intersected with those around them. The neighbors, the hired help, and the shops in Łódź that she had frequented.

Shopping had become an annoyance. Many of the stores she used to patronize were off limits now, as Germans could not be seen at Jewish establishments without repercussions. Furthermore, since the occupation, they were calling Łódź “Litzmannstadt” after some important Nazi General. The Nazis had renamed so many streets, it was confusing to get around the city.   p.83 Threaten to Undo Us.

Historical note:

The city of Łódź was occupied in September 1939 by the German army and shortly thereafter, renamed “Litzmannstadt” after Karl Litzmann, the German general who had captured the city in the Great War. Infamously, Łódź was the site of one the largest Jewish ghettos, before the inhabitants were taken to concentration camps. In 1945, with the occupation of the Soviets, the city became part of the “People’s Republic of Poland.”

 

March 13, 2015
by Rose Scott
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A Hitler Youth Parade

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Berlin, Stadion, Fest der Deutschen Schule

Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-14983 / CC-BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

The Jungvolk leader’s voice echoed across the Platz. “As you march in step, you will be trained to be a National Socialist faithful to your duty and great future before us! The Fuhrer expects your service, loyalty and duty. Ten year old cubs and little maids, you are not too young to be a comrade in this glorious community. Kurt perked up at this. Soon he could join the “Jungvolk,” march in the parade and practice the drills. He could hardly wait to wear the uniform and sing the patriotic songs.” p. 124 Threaten to Undo Us

 

The Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend), the youth branch of the National Socialist party had its earliest origins in the 1920’s and by 1933 was the only “official” youth organization in Germany.

Adolf Hitler had no qualms about using the next generation to further the ideology of National Socialism and children were attracted to the scout-like program with its competitions, skills training, parades and outdoor adventures. But even if they didn’t want to be in the Hitler Youth or the League of German girls, it was soon not much of a choice as on Saturdays children could attend the Hitler Youth or go to school instead. (Social Education/ October 1983 p. 394).

Nazism and traditional Christian beliefs were not compatible and Hitler Youth activities subtly drew children away from religious observance. Schoolteachers and Jungvolk leaders had kowtowed early on with Hitler’s new educational curriculum of racial superiority and German nationalism. Hitler youth activities were scheduled on Sundays, and at summer camps children were taught the uselessness of religious faith, repeating little ditties such as, “we are the rollicking Hitler Youth, we have no need of Christian truth…” http://histclo.com/youth/youth/org/nat/hitler/act/rel/hya-rel.htm Religious rites of passage, such as confirmation were replaced by Nazi ceremonies. http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/jufeier.htm  By the time most German children reached adulthood, Nazi ideals were already part of their psyche.

 

More info: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/hitleryouth/hj-road.htm

 

As a lead up to the release of my novel “Threaten to Undo Us,” I am posting historical photos, with an excerpt from my book and a little snippet of history. Enjoy! Threaten to Undo Us can be pre-ordered at www.promontorypress.com. Use code “SpringPreOrder” to get 20% off the cover price.

March 12, 2015
by Rose Scott
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New Blog site!

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Hello Blog Friends,

Please join me at my new site www.roseseilerscott.com

I am doing a series of posts on WW2 and snippets from my new novel. Come check it out and follow me there. Thanks!

March 11, 2015
by Rose Scott
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Chanticleer review: Threaten to Undo Us

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Chanticleer reviewed my book!

http://chantireviews.com/2015/03/09/threaten-to-undo-us-by-rose-seiler-scott/Threaten To Undo Us - Copy - Copy

Born to an ethnic German family in Poland, Liesel Bauer is raised to appreciate the complex cultural differences of her tight-knit rural farming community. Friendships between families are generational, forged in the spirit of cooperation and extending back for centuries. But when politics turn to war Liesel learns that the bonds of shared lives are easily severed.

Liesel’s story spans nearly three decades – from the time of the Bolshevik reprisals of 1919 through the aftermath of World War II. Her early years take place during a period of political calm, thus enabling the reader to follow Liesel’s growth from a clever and loving child to shy teen and, ultimately, to a woman who draws strength from both her faith and from her role as wife and mother. It’s with this strength that she will arm herself for the times ahead.

As Hitler gathers his supporters and builds a case for war, Liesel’s town is cleaved in two. Neighbors lose trust in one another and friendships are dissolved.

For the thousands of German families that have the foresight to leave Poland, an exodus is set in motion. Knowing no other life, Liesel and her family stay and she shows us that the bravest actions in war are rooted in the routines salvaged from everyday life.

“Threaten to Undo Us” is a novel rich with meticulous historical detail mined from both primary and secondary sources. From the descriptions of daily farm life and cultural customs to the price that shifting political loyalties exacted on the war’s victims, the reader is immersed in a story that rings true on multiple levels.

Author Rose Seiler Scott has delivered a thoughtful and vivid picture of the plight of ethnic Germans living in Poland during and after World War II. Caught between their birthrights on Polish soil and the call of the German fatherland they were stripped of their human rights and became refugees within their home country.

Through the struggles of one woman and her family the author has crafted an homage to the millions of ethnic Germans, once living in Poland, who lost their property, their freedom and, in many instances, their lives. With a literary sleight of hand this quiet narrative deftly guides readers outside of their comfort zones, demanding that attention be paid to the follies of the past.

[Reviewer’s Note: Historical Sources and Quote References are included.]

Review by Sherill Leonardi

Author’s note: Pre-order the book at www.promontorypress.com. Use the Promo code SpringPreOrder to receive 20% off. 

March 9, 2015
by Rose Scott
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Blog

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Hi Everyone,

Welcome to my new blog! I’ll be kicking it off with a countdown to my Book Launch! Keep posted!

January 27, 2015
by Rose Scott
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My blog is moving

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A heads up for my followers. Within the next few weeks, I am planning to move my blog to my own domain at www.roseseilerscott.com

Stay tuned and I hope you will continue to follow me there!

January 27, 2015
by Rose Scott
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Beauty for Ashes

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In talking to people during the writing process of my book, I have discovered repeatedly that everyone has a story. True stories or books and movies based on real events are the most interesting in my opinion.

Our lives are filled with triumph and tragedy, love and loss, pain and perseverance. Life can deal some difficult blows, but how we react to is different in each person. Therein lies the story.

On a recent flight we watched a movie “The Good Lie,” a heartbreaking but inspiring story of “The Lost Boys of Sudan” who survive the razing of their village and the brutal murder of their parents. Together they form a small family unit, as they flee to safety, carrying only a few necessities, among which are a Bible. Eventually joining another larger group of refugees they trek along the African plains and jungles for over 700 miles. Along the way, they lose loved ones, to illness, kidnapping and later in the narrative to bureaucracy.

Stunned and shell-shocked, they spend the remainder of their childhood and teen years in a rudimentary refugee camp, eventually arriving in the US, where they are completely baffled by the complexities of modern conveniences, employment and social realities.

It would have been so easy for these young men to stay stuck in their tragedy, when everyone who mattered in their lives had been taken and all semblance of normal life was stripped away. But though they come close to losing their way, they cling tenaciously to hope, to faith that seems absurd at times and to the kind of integrity that loses one of the characters his job. I am fortunate to never have experienced real trauma in my life. I have never faced starvation, abuse or lost a close loved one too early, but I struggle with chronic physical issues which on many days make me want to give up, and just eat the whole box of chocolates. By myself.

That’s OK for a little while. Sometimes, when we are reeling from pain and loss, we need to rest, grieve our losses and nurse our pain and lament. But there comes a time when we need to get up and work through our sorrows. We need to seek out the beauty from the ashes, look for the sun behind the clouds and tenaciously move on clinging to whatever shreds of hope are left.

Even in our brokenness, we can reach out to others.

While trying to find their way in a strange land and culture, these young men in “The Good Lie” clung to the hope of re-unification of some their group. Were they still sad? I don’t doubt it for one second, but they hung in.

My book “Threaten to Undo Us” tells the story of other people who persevered even when all seemed lost. The original title I had chosen was “A Mighty Fortress,” which to me speaks of a God who is ever faithful even when He is silent, a refuge of faith where we can hide.

Faith in God is greater than anything this evil world can throw our way and overcomes repeatedly even when, in our human view things have gone completely sideways.  He promises beauty for ashes and gladness for mourning for those who hang on and look for it.

That is powerful story.