BY MARINA DUTZMANN KIRSCH
Award-Winning Finalist, Narrarive Non-FictionTHE 2012 USA BEST BOOK AWARDS
The tiny Baltic State of Latvia, wedged helplesslybetween two of the most violent and brutaldictatorships of modern times.
December, 1939, just before the Soviet takeover.
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Rolf, a twenty-year-old Latvian aeronautical engineering student and Lilo, the nineteen-year-old German woman that he is destined to meet the following year in Berlin.
To choose the lesser of two evils—staying in Latvia and facing the threat of immediate execution or exile under the Soviets followed by life for the survivors under the oppressive Stalin regime OR repatriating to Germany, the only country offering sanctuary to Latvians of Baltic German descent.
Swept along on a tide of dire necessity and circumstance, the Dutzmann family decides to flee to Germany, a country fully under Hitler's domination and already engaged in a brutal war.
At a time when eyewitnesses to World War II are dying out and the world still struggles to come to grips with the reality of that most devastating of all armed conflicts, Flight of Remembrance is a true story that transports the reader to World War II Latvia, Poland and Germany, into the frantically palpitating heart of wartime tragedy and upheaval. Written by the daughter of the protagonists and accompanied by many World War II era photos from the family archives, the book provides a window into the lives of Rolf Dutzmann and Lilo Wassull against the backdrop of three tumultuous decades of European history—two ordinary people who find themselves positioned on “the other side” in Hitler's Germany.
After completing his aeronautical engineering studies, Rolf's ability to delay military service in Nazi Germany expires. He is promptly drafted into the Luftwaffe while his father, Ernst, is assigned to train for top-secret V-2 rocket inspection. Whereas the book chronicles a young man's pursuit of his technical dream against daunting wartime odds, it is first and foremost a poignant and enduring love story that plays out against a panorama of worldwide chaos and destruction. It is also a story of the seen and unseen forces that coalesce to keep Rolf and Lilo alive after they meet in 1940 Berlin, leading them through a chain of cataclysmic events including Rolf's draft into the Luftwaffe and his father's assignment as chief inspector of V-2 rocket production; the bombing of Berlin; the destruction of their homes; their numerous desperate, cross-country escapes from the bombing, the advancing Soviet troops from the east, and other Allied forces from the west; the POW camp hardships; and the deprivation of the postwar years. Can the vibrant faith, good conscience, positive outlook and dynamic vision for the future entertained by two young people emerge intact out of the Nazi era and the immeasurable evil and devastation of World War II?
It is the author's hope that Flight of Remembrance will provide an uplifting reminder of love and hope rising even out of the ashes of life's most terrifying adversities, and that stories emerging from the World War II era will help to inspire a future of peace rather than conflict.
Kirschstone Books • Kensington, New Hampshire • 978-270-3523 •