Rose Seiler Scott

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May 14, 2015
by Rose Scott
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Book Review: Consider the Sunflowers

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Tina’s dilemma is whether to marry stable but dull Roland or free spirited Frank, a man wCONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS FRONT COVER 22-SEP-2014_72dpi (2)ho wears his with Gypsy blood and dubious faith on his sleeve. Then there is Victor, from Vancouver. Flighty Tina strings them all along. Just as she makes up her mind, along comes Dorrie Harms with her designs on Tina’s intended.

Marriage, Tina discovers is not all sunshine and sunflowers. Realities of life on the prairies, personal tragedy, health issues and her husband’s quick temper coupled with Tina’s own poor choices make marriage and life a struggle. Her Mennonite faith is tested and found wanting.
Schemenauer’s vivid prose brings to life a vivid patchwork quilt of characters and a realistic setting. The reader will root for Tina, the main character, not because she is completely righteous—she is not, but because we want her to make wise choices.
Schemenauer does an excellent job of revealing her characters’ minds; it’s not always pretty and charitable thoughts either- jealousy, anger, prejudice and an endless go around of justifying decisions.
Though the plot seems to veer off a little, the story avoids a formulaic approach. Twists, turns and the characters’ quirks keep the reader turning the pages until the end.
Played out against the backdrop of World War Two,Consider the Sunflowers is a historical romance: a tale of marriage, life and faith.
Consider the Sunflowers is a delightful read, full of all the snippets of Mennonite and agricultural life that only an “insider” could know.

Consider the Sunflowers is 299 pages, $19.95 paperback, publisher Borealis Press of Ottawa, ISBN 978-0-88887-575-4. If you order it through a bookstore or library, you may not need to pay for shipping. You can also order online from Chapters Indigo, http://tinyurl.com/nsylp5j . [No shipping charge on orders of $25 or more in Canada. They also send to other countries but charge for shipping]. Or order from Borealis Press, http://tinyurl.com/lfdo9pf . E-book coming in 2015. For more information, please see http://elmams.wix.com/sflwrs .

April 24, 2015
by Rose Scott
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The Big Three at Yalta: Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt

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Yalta 1945

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 Stalin traced his finger along the Curzon line which encompassed the cities of Brest and Lwów. Regarding the other world leaders with a steely gaze, he squared his shoulders so that his epaulets formed a straight and rigid line. “I will settle for the Eastern territories and nothing less.”

All of those present knew that the co-operation of the Soviet forces, allied with the Western powers, had been critical in turning the tide against Nazi Germany.

Churchill tightened his jowls around his cigar. He was not comfortable conceding anything to Stalin and even viewed Roosevelt with some distrust.

Roosevelt flicked the ashes from his cigarette into the ash­tray and coughed; a sound that rattled from deep within his chest. He pulled the matchbox towards himself and looked up, his pale face thoughtful. Shaking out a number of matches, he arranged them on the map…p.viii

In 1945 the World Leaders met at the conferences of Yalta and Potsdam. Among other decisions to be made was what to do with Poland. Stalin had his own ideas, which resulted in the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe for almost 50 years. But re-drawing of the map of Europe resulted in the prolonging of wartime conditions and more suffering and bloodshed than the Western leaders could have realized.

Threaten to Undo Us  is The 2016 Word Guild winner for historical fiction.

As Hitler’s Third Reich crumbles and Stalin’s army advances, German civilians in the Eastern territories are forced to flee for their lives.

Liesel and her four young children set out from their home in Poland, in hopes of  crossing the Oder River to safety in the west. But all that awaits them is terror, uncertainty and a brutal new regime that threatens to tear the family apart.

Based on a true story, Threaten to Undo Us exposes historical events that took place in the enormous shadow of World War Two.

Threaten to Undo Us is 327 pages, trade paperback, publisher Promontory Press of Victoria, BC, ISBN 978-1-927559-68-0. Order Online through: Promontory Press,   Chapters-Indigo, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com

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!