Flight of Remembrance: A World War II Memoir of Love and Survival
Marina Dutzmann Kirsch
Kirschstone, 2011 (2011)
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Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke
n her Preface, Marina Dutzmann Kirsch tells readers: '
It is my hope, without in any way diminishing the stories of those who perished unjustly, that 'Flight of Remembrance' will provide an uplifting reminder that out of somber darkness, new life can arise like a radiant dawn. May humanity now rise to usher in a future of peace and freedom, in which kindness is extended to all beings and all people are empowered to realize their most cherished dreams.
he has written a biographical journey of two families - Dutzmann, and Wassull, paternal (Rolf) and maternal (Liselotte) Lilo, respectively. Light is shed on their experiences at the end of World War I, and during The Great Depression. The bulk of this story is set at the outbreak, during, and after World War II, covering the struggles, hardships and atrocities that many do not learn of until the ending of the War is in sight.
n 1939, Rolf Dutzmann studies aeronautical engineering at the University of Latvia. A dire phone call from his father Ernst urges him to come home immediately. On arrival, he finds family members hurriedly packing; the independent Latvia will be turned over to the Soviet Union, rather than allowing Latvia to be ravaged and lives destroyed through resistance. (In the years ahead, Latvia is brutally treated, and eventually the country no longer exists.)
he Dutzmanns travel to Germany for repatriation, and then settle in an apartment in Poland. Soon there are rumors that the Nazis under Adolf Hitler secretly scheme to break their treaty with the Soviet Union '
that had enabled the two totalitarian regimes to carve up Poland as well as allowing Nazi Germany to boldly march into Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France and Norway unopposed and without fear of provoking a second front in the east
olf is admitted into another university to continue his studies. His father Ernst is drafted into the German army as a Major, and oversees a group of engineers in the secret tunnels under Kohnstein Mountain, the site of Mittelwerk, and the building of V-2 flying bombs ('
Hitler's secret weapon
'). During Christmas break in 1940, Rolf meets Lilo at a dance in the Olympics Stadium Café in Berlin. Their relationship is at first an on/off affair, as the Dutzmann and Wassull families are uprooted many times during the War. After graduation, Rolf is drafted and involved in navigator training and glider-construction and experimentation.
arina Dutzmann Kirsch's
Flight of Remembrance
is well-documented and includes a prolific Foreword,
In War's Vortex
, written by Dr. Angelo M. Codevilla, Professor Emeritus, Boston University. The author (the daughter of Rolf and Lilo), was born into the postwar Old World in Zurich, Switzerland in 1951, just before the families immigrated to the United States. Everyone should know about this time in world history, and the author makes heartfelt connections for readers to this dark era.
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