In Berlin in 1939, Michael Tradowsky celebrated his fourth birthday with his parents by helping his father tack up blackout paper over their windows. Germany was at war. For the next six years, the Tradowsky family endured the nightmare of the German home front.
Intense and powerful, War Children shares the incredible saga of an ordinary German family during World War II. Looking back from the vantage of seventy years, Michael’s memoir directly confronts how his childhood experiences, despite his parents’ attempt to give him a normal upbringing, were shaped by an epoch of rampant evil under Hitler.
Michael shares how each member of his family had his or her own way of fighting against the regime. His courageous and outspoken aristocratic mother was determined to protect her son from Nazi brainwashing and sacrificed everything but her love and honor to keep her children alive. His father, a promising theater director, rubbed shoulders with the great entertainers of the time—until his refusal to join the Nazi Party destroyed his aspirations. But perhaps Michael’s love for his baby sister exemplifies the tragedy of a childhood spent in war, for her very life depended on him carrying her to the bomb shelter.
From winding roads twisting through the tall pines of the Black Forest to trucks crammed with refugees, War Children offers a sobering testimony for children victimized by war, past and present.