A Childhood in Bohemia: and the Flight to the West

A Childhood in Bohemia: and the Flight to the West

By: Erika Storey (author)Paperback

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Erika Schroll, a small girl, growing up in the picturesque town of Saaz, discovers the way of the world and her own nature amidst the turmoil of a World War and its devastating consequences. Always being accompanied by her mother, Josefine, she feels safe in spite of the family's sudden deportation with millions of compatriots to the recently destroyed Germany. In East Germany, by now was part of the Russian Sector, the country having been divided up by the allies, Erika and her mother spent 9 months in an overcrowded refugee camp, whilst her fatally sick sister, Liesl, was being nursed in the hospital in the town of Freiberg/Saxony. The long, enforced march across the Ore mountain range, dividing Czechoslovakia from Germany, had done irreparable damage to her already dysfunctional heart valves. After two years of starvation and ill health and the worst winter for centuries, their physical condition became critical. At that time, Erika's father, Ferdinand, found his family through the efforts of the Red Cross and helped them escape to the American West Sector. Josefine and the two girls had to cross the border from East Germany to Bavaria in the Western Zone illegally, while Ferdinand took their few belongings as hand baggage on the train. In No-mans-land, Josefine and the children were shot at by East German border guards. Nonetheless, Josefine felt that the risk of walking on was worth taking as the family would anyway have starved to death in East Germany. She succeeded and after many obstacles found her husband across the border. In order to obtain ration cards for his family, Ferdinand intended to leave them temporarily in a refugee camp in Regensburg, Bavaria, only to be told by the camp commandant that Josefine and the children had to be sent back to East Germany by train the next morning due to the lack of space for more people. Ferdinand decides to take the family to his elderly parents, who had also been deported (this time more humanely) to a small village in Bavaria. At last, the family was safe, but many obstacles and losses had to be overcome before a tolerable life could begin. The dramatic attempts of other close relatives to escape the life-threatening chaos all around them are interwoven into the main story, while the background is the roller coaster of political events and history in the making.

About Author

Erika Storey, nee Schroll, a Sudeten German, was born in the German medieval town of Saaz in Bohemia. She now lives in the South East of England, having gone through eventful times for much of her life. World famous for its hops, Saaz was a prosperous, beautifully situated town amongst its sister towns in Bohemia and Moravia. The author spent an interesting childhood there, unaware that, through the political upheaval of the Second World War, her family's existence was soon to undergo a dramatic change, with nowhere to go and struggling to survive.


Foreword xi; Prologue:-; A Short History of Bohemia xii; Introduction xvii; A Bohemian Childhood 1; Apprenticeship 9; Boy meets Girl 12; Pepi and her Family in Saaz 14; Hitler becomes Chancellor 29; Politics and Religion 34; The Wild Cat with a Glint in its Eyes 44; Prague concedes 48; The German Conscience 50; My Private World 54; Herr Lorenz, the Blacksmith 62; From Liberation to Domination 64; My Introduction to a Wider World 68; The Blitz 73; Pain and Happiness 87; Christmas 1942 92; Conscription 101; Fairy Tales 105; Realities 108; School and home 111; Herbert 115; Truth 120; The Mighty Tower Begins to Sway 123; At Elli's 125; The End is in Sight 127; Guilt 134; Gerhard 140; Who is it going to be? 142; Games 144; The Tower Falls 150; The Verdict 155; Chaos 161; Franz in Adversity 165. Karl 168; The Penalty 171; The Continuous Penalty 179; For Whom the Bell Tolls 184; Karl's Confrontation with Stark Realities 187; Franz Adapts Himself 195; The New Life 199; Karl Escapes the Shadows 211; The Open Gate 220; New Beginnings 224; Karl's Journey 238; Visitors 244; Fellings 249; Karl's Perseverance and Reward 256; Our Escape 260; Conclusion 266; Bibliography 275.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781906791346
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 320
  • ID: 9781906791346
  • weight: 451
  • ISBN10: 1906791341

Delivery Information

  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
  • Store Delivery: Yes

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