Monday, August 8, 2011

Hey Kids, Want Some Chocolates?

Author Melitta Strandberg's new memoir follows the Mohr family's remarkable quest for freedom beginning in Romania as WWII was starting and continuing through their perilous experiences in Weimar, infamous home of the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Roseville, CA - July 28, 2011 - Melitta Strandberg has released Hey Kids, Want Some Chocolates? My Family's Journey to Freedom, co-authored by George E. Pfautsch and published by AuthorHouse. Starting with her being taken from her mother just after her birth in 1944 at the Weimar hospital where Hitler conducted experimental research on newborn children, Strandberg's story of her and her family's horrifying war years in Nazi Germany is both emotionally compelling and historically revealing.

Hitler's Weimar hospital medical experiment program was for the most part populated by babies born to mothers from Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania. Melitta's family had traveled to Weimar from Romania and so were not considered the "pure race" Hitler intended for Germany and, like other foreigners, became fodder for Nazi brutality.

Melitta was snatched at birth from her mother and she vanished for six months. A different baby was given to her mother for feeding, but her mother saw that there was no birth mark on this child's lower arm, as she had seen on Melitta's at birth, and she refused to accept the clandestine swap. The staff removed the imposter, but did not return the hours old Melitta to her mother.

The story of Melitta's miraculous reunion with her family six months later is an extraordinary episode itself, but it is just the first chapter in the tale of dangerous and nightmare-like circumstances the Mohr family found themselves in living next to the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp.

Besides being a dramatic chronicle of the travail of Melitta's family, Hey Kids, Want Some Chocolates? also provides a unique historical perspective on families such as the Mohr's who were then forced to make a decision to stay in the Weimar region and fall under the rule of the Soviet Union or to relocate to the American sector after Buchenwald had been liberated by Patton's Third Army.

In 1945 the Mohrs departed what would become a repressive East Germany and caught the last refugee train to Augsburg, where they were greeted by chocolate bearing American soldiers and the freedom that Melitta, now a citizen of the United States herself, has been able to enjoy ever since.

My Thoughts: I've loved books about WWII since I was in middle school but this one just didn't work for me. Instead of feeling like a cohesive story, it was more like listening to a grandmother ramble about her life as she was busy doing chores. The story may have potential but it needs a good editor to help the author flesh out the narrative and correct errors such as "within what is now called Czechoslovakia" - there is no longer any such place by this name.

This book was provided to me through Bostick Communications; I received no monetary compensation for my review.

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