Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Book Review - Lizzi & Fredl
One of my favorite memoirs is German Boy http://www.amazon.com/German-Boy-Wolfgang-W-E-Samuel/dp/0340822600/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271201250&sr=8-1-catcorr I found a review of "Lizzi and Fredl" on Holly's blog. (see blog roll) It intrigued me because of the Nazi theme. Lizzi and Fredl were living in Austria in 1938 when Hitler's Nazi regime ordered Fredl and his brothers to report to a munitions factory as workers. Not wanting to be part of this dreaded force they decided to escape to France with their wives.
The three couples manage to crawl across the border under very dangerous circumstances. But life in France, as the war unfolds and the Germans invade, has its own nightmares, especially for Fredyl and his brother Ernstl, who was married to Lizzi's sister. The French were suspicious of foreign men, wondering where their sympathies were, so they were sent to interment and labor camps for the duration of the war. These camps are horrific, sad adventures in hard work, mal-nutrition, abuse and raw deprivation.
Fredl and Lizzi are separated for much of the war. The women fare better in France and I was impressed with the help and support that Lizzi and her sister received from the government agencies and the local women. The book was written by the couples only son, Dr. William B. Stanford who was born in France after the war about 3 years before the couple imigrated to the US. The writing was simple and I probably wouldn't have tolerated it had it been fiction. Stanford portrayed a sweet connection between this couple as they pushed through the tragedies that might have otherwise broken Fredl as he suffered heart problems and Rheumatoid Arthritis, exacerbated by his poor living conditions and hard work.
There were miracles as Providence, love and faith direct Lizzi and Fredl on many occasions. The strength of the human spirit to go on in spite of almost unfathomable obstacles was witnessed here. 2 stars for the writing, 4 stars for the story.