Today we present the second part of our guest post from Dick Parsons, four-time AuthorHouse author and former a former Royal Navy lieutenant commander. You can read part one here.
When I was in command of the frigate H.M.S. Undaunted and we visited Cuxhaven, the Anglo-Berlin Friendship Society invited a group of us from the ship to Berlin. Flown from Hamburg to Berlin Tempelhof, we were given a tour of West Berlin—in particular, the Berlin Wall and, beyond it, East Berlin. The suffering of the Berliners during and immediately after the Second World War was clearly evident. It brought back memories of September 3, 1939 when, as a boy of ten, I heard Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announce on the wireless that if Germany did not stop all aggressive action against Poland and begin to withdraw from Polish territory by 11 am, Britain and Germany would be at war. He continued, “No such undertaking has been received and consequently this country is now at work with Germany.”
Even at that tender age, I was aware of Adolf Hitler and had seen him in the cinema newsreels ranting and raging in his incomprehensible (to me) German, about his determination to make Germany great again. And growing up during World War II, Hitler’s aggression had indeed seemed to be all about vengeance for the defeat of 1918 and his demand for “lebensraum,” the expansion of Germany eastward. Like many, I was none too aware of Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies until victory came and the extermination camps, such as Belsen and Auschwitz, were liberated and the mass murder of the Jews became all too apparent.
But it was not until many years later in 2006, when I visited Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Remembrance Museum in Jerusalem) and began to read seriously about Hitler’s persecution of the Jews, that I really began to comprehend the massive scale of savagery and horror of Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Not only did it appall me, but it inspired me to write about the unending suffering of the Jews in Germany and its occupied territories during Hitler’s regime. To avoid the unemotional style of pure history, I created two German non-Jewish brothers: one with a non-Jewish wife and non-Jewish sons, and the other with a Jewish wife and two Jewish children. I portrayed events in Nazi Germany through their lives in my book A Family Divided.
We’ll continue with the third part of Dick’s guest post next week. Readers, all of his books are available at Amazon and the AuthorHouse Bookstore.