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Surviving the Fire
Mother Courage and World War II
Edited by Lilo Klug
When the peaceful wooded recreation area near Heilbronn in southern Germany was taken over to be made into a base for U.S. Pershing missiles, the community was deeply shocked. Young peace activists, even as they redoubled their own efforts, began to question why those who suffered through World War II remained silent. In response, under the inspiration of Christl Banghard-Jost and the guidance of Lilo Klug, nineteen women of the war generation gathered to tell their stories and confront the old wounds of war and fascism. Some were children at the time their city, Heilbronn, was firebombed. Others were brides whose husbands were drafted into the army, or workers forced into serving long hours in factories to support the war effort. A full spectrum of political opinion, from resistance fighters to members of the Hitler Youth Organization, is represented. What emerges is a rare and personal portrait of civilian Germany during the war and the effects of fascism upon its own people.
Lilo Klug was born in southern Germany in 1933. As Hitler came to power, she was greatly influenced by Nazi propaganda. Like her friends and schoolmates, she became a member of the Jungmädchen, a Nazi organization for young girls. With Germany's defeat at the end of the war came disillusion and a long period of anger, questioning, and reevaluation. It was not until many years later that she became a pacifist and peace activist. Since then, she has worked as a translator, language teacher, tourist guide and social worker. She is chairperson of the Peace Embassy in Heilbronn, Germany, and lectures internationally about the European peace movement. She is married and has two grown sons and a daughter.
Complementary Book for Education
These tales have a coherence and immediacy that goes beyond routine oral history. This collection is a noteworthy addition to first-person narratives of WWII.
Small Press Book Review