I asked each of the authors in the 6-book collection, The Road to Liberation to introduce their main characters. Here they are.
Marion Kummerow – Stolen Childhood I’m Mindel. I’m four years old, and I can’t remember my last name. My big sister Rachel would know, but she and I got separated when we arrived in this stupid camp. I’ve been looking for her ever since, but she’s nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, my new friend Lazlo and I are hanging out. He’s my hero. Seven years old and very strong. He has been teaching me how to steal food from the kitchen — I know, you probably think stealing is bad and my mother would agree with you, but here it’s different. The mean SS-men in their black uniforms never give us enough food, and the little we receive is an awful tasting gruel. It’s so awful I wouldn’t eat anything of it on my first day here, but when you’re hungry enough, even that gruel becomes eatable.
Ellie Midwood – The Aftermath My name is Tadeusz. I’m a Polish Jew and former Auschwitz inmate. I have lost my entire family to the gas chambers and asked for a chance to avenge them as soon as the Soviet Army had liberated us. For several months, I’ve been fighting alongside my new comrades, but the pain went nowhere. We have just won the war but even that didn’t bring me any relief. A chance meeting with an American OSS agent offered me a chance to bring one of the major Nazi criminals, Otto Neumann, to justice. However, in order to find Neumann, I must befriend that Nazi’s daughter, Gerlinde, and she’s as indoctrinated in her father’s rotten ideology as they get. Presently, we live under the same roof – she, under a house arrest. It’s a rather awkward arrangement, but she talks to me and it’s already something. Only time will show if I succeed or not.
Rachel Wesson – When’s Mummy Coming? I’m Tom, I have three mothers. The mother who gave birth to me, Trudi my father’s second wife who sent me to England to save me from the Nazi’s and Sally who gave me a home. England is okay, some people hate me because I am Jewish but they don’t kill you over here. The English took my older brother and put him in a camp. He left and joined the British army. He wants to find and kill those who killed Papa, other family members and friends. When the war is over, they may send us back to Germany. I hope they won’t. I want to stay with Sally. I love her.
Marina Osipova – Too Many Wolves in the Local Wolves My name is Ulya Kriegshammer. I’m a Volga German. I love my country and when the German Army invaded it, without hesitation, I joined in efforts to fight undercover against the enemy. My liaison is Nathan, whose real name I don’t know. He is just a comrade to me but why do I look forward to meeting him with such unfamiliar feelings, feelings that I cannot name? My name is Natasha Ivanova. I am a Russian. I fight for my Motherland, helping the Underground. I know it’s mortally dangerous but the man I love risks his life too. We want to free our country and survive. But is that what fate has in store for us?
Chrystyna K. Lucyk-Berger – Magda’s Mark My name is Magda Novák. I have my father’s lack-of-height and my mother’s hair and would have been pretty but I was born with a birthmark that essentially takes up the left side of my face. In the sixth grade, the kids in school compared it to the map of Siberia. We are Czech and apparently on the wrong side of the border. The Germans have claimed our village – and our farm – as Sudetenland property and kicked us off to make “room” for more German families. We used to all live well enough together. Now we’re called Untermenschen.
When it was clear that my great-aunt’s house was too small for all of us, I went into Litomerice, the largest town, and looked for work. Dr Tauber, and his renowned pianist wife, Ruth Tauber, took me in as a nanny for their daughter. Together with Renata – a wild-haired Viking-sized Slovak woman who runs the household, and Jana, a Sudeten German cook, and Aleš, a former military captain-turned-gardener, we take care of the Taubers, and they – most of all – take care of us. Seems they took on a lot of ragtag people looking for a safe place. And that is what Villa Liška (which means the Fox’s Villa) is to us, a safe haven located outside of Litomerice on Radobyl Mountain, with two iron gates to keep the outside world out. Until they barged their way in.
JJ Toner – Liberation Berlin Hi, I’m Gretchen Schuster. My husband, Oskar, returned from the war in 1943. Many of my neighbors said I was lucky, but unfortunately, he was not the man I married anymore – the war took his mind. I work as an assistant in a bakery. The rest of the day I spend looking after Oskar. He has lucid moments, but they are fewer and fewer with each passing day. Like everyone in Berlin, I long for the day when we will be liberated from the Nazis, but I pray that the Western Allies will reach us before the Red Army does.
I’m proud to be part of this project. These are six amazing books. Grab your copy today. https://www.JJToner.com/the-road-to-liberation