"Flight of Remembrance is not only filled with the horrors of Germany during the war, but includes many snapshots and paper memorabilia to really bring the story to life. Everyone thinks of Germans as the “bad guys” but Kirsch’s book is a great example that the truth is always much more complicated; that the Germans were real people, too, and struggled to survive against all odds and with fear of their own lives.
Rolf was a well-educated individual, and his struggles to feed and take care of his family is evident on every page, and you can only imagine if his family struggled so much, how much more the average person did – and that is actually the real beauty of “Flight of Remembrance”, because Rolf is the average person. It’s the smallest details that Kirsch shares with the readers that make this a memorable read. A great read for anyone who is interested in reading more about Germany, both before and after the war.
—Anastacia Zittel for Reader’s Favorite
"Against despair, few have the courage to rise up and reclaim peace. Flight of Remembrance is a memoir of World War II throughout Europe and America...Marina Dutzmann Kirsch recounts the journeys of her parents as they tried to break through the war that was consuming their countries and leaving little more than scorched earth. Her story is a romance of uncertain times, a read with plenty to ponder and consider. Flight of Remembrance is a strong pick for any memoir or military history collection."
—Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch
"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. Everyone should know about this time in world history, and the author makes heartfelt connections for readers to this dark era."
–J. A. Kaszuba Locke, Bookloons Reviews
"A true account of the plight of the author’s parents, Rolf and Lilo, who survived World War II destruction and brutality in Lativia, Poland and Germany...a vivid and inspiring story. This well-written record of horrific events experienced by Rolf and Lilo and their touching love story set against a backdrop of rapacious Soviet and Nazi cruelty, provides a vital reminder of the cost of freedom. Fresh insight is revealed through Rolf’s father’s assignment as chief inspector of V-2 rocket production, and Rolf’s forced service in the Luftwaffe."
–"the Mindquest Review of Books" by Lightword Publishing
"World War II was a devastating event in our history and for all countries involved. Despite its dark side, something beautiful came out of it as well. A family story like Marina Dutzmann Kirsch’s...is a beautiful piece of family heritage. As I was reading the book, I tried to put myself in the characters' shoes and I noticed I wasn’t scared and I never felt hopeless. A certain strength came over me, a bond, that only a family has and offers to its members. I believe that this certain power can make people invincible and even at times when they go through hell, they see the light and have the strength to follow it.
The story is captivating and the characters are very real. We chronologically learn the story first from Rolf and then later from Lilo, although this book is about a lot more than two people meeting and surviving the war. It’s also a world history book, thanks to its punctual geography references, and it offers a different point of view to North-American readers from the losing side of the Second World War.
In an interview that we conducted with her, Marina spoke about her inspiration to write this book:"My family's story from the losing side of the war is as much about finding meaning, living a life of faith, and cherishing a dream as it is about surviving a war that incinerated the hopes, dreams, and lives of 50-70 million people worldwide. And although it narrates a family's quest for survival against the odds, it's also a love story."
“Flight of Remembrance documents a family caught in the midst of two adversarial countries—Latvia and Germany. Russia is invading Latvia, their home for many years. That means probable extermination because the father, a man of accomplishment, is known for his outspoken, anti-communist views. Their alternative to likely death is the unknown—they can repatriate to Germany because the mother is German and her son was also born there. But if they immigrate, it means certain conscription into the German army for the men of the family.
They opt for the tenuousness of displacement and repatriation to Germany as their only chance for survival. It is "out of the frying pan into the fire." But they are guided by a father with a driving and prescient sense of how to keep his family alive, and how to keep his children from getting lost to the dictatorial circumstances of war in a totalitarian society. Throughout the book, we see the strength that comes from love, faith, and a commitment to family.
Ultimately, Flight of Remembrance is a very personal, historically accurate account of what the human spirit can achieve even while running the gauntlet of a society in decline. It describes with precision how brutal wars by dictators victimize the citizens who are forced to fight as well as those who are caught in its crosshairs. The author confronts head-on the very difficult choices made by her father and grandfather. We see where the constant pursuit of competence commandeers luck. We see how an unshakeable long-range vision trumps hellish circumstances. And we see a family always acting with the sure belief that if you keep sowing the seeds of survival, they will eventually blossom. Ultimately, in the midst of the ravages of war, this is a love story. Here is a book where readers can visit the ultimate dilemma—the spider's web that Hitler created for all those he touched—and work through these issues of survival for themselves.
–Maggy L. Graham, Words & Pictures Press
This was a moving, heartfelt, and deeply personal account of of Marina Kirsch's parents' and grendparents' struggle in Nazi Germany during WWII and the courage and faith that helped them survive great difficulties. You were left wanting to cheer when told about their ultimate arrival in the US in the 1950s. Photographs—wonderful!
—Lois Robblee, Peabody, MA
I very highly recommend this book to anyone who had family in Europe during the war. Through Marina's story, I learned pieces of my own family's untold history. She tells the Dutzmann family story so clearly, without melodrama, that I gained an appreciation of the courage and hope of every person in any part of Europe who was there. Everyone should read this book. It is a story of survival against all odds that we all need to know.
—Helgi Reunne, Clearwater, Florida
Thank you for speaking at Christ Lutheran in Lincoln, NE. It was delightful to get to meet you and hear your story. I purchased a book from you that night and have just finished it. You are a wonderful writer! I thank the Lord that your family survived and that you were willing to spend the time to write this incredible story of survival from the German point of view.
—Jill Jank, Lincoln, NE
...a fantastic book. Americans can learn by this...I had no idea of how much upheaval people in other countries went through for a long period of time. We here in the U.S. have not had other countries like Russia or Germany move in and take over and causing so much horror, deaths, upheavals. WWII did not end for many Europeans like it did for us on V Day. We went back to normal, they didn't. Can't say all I felt from the book on this note, but thank you for writing and sharing it!
—Mary Berg GageGrosse Pointe Woods, Michigan
I could not put down the book—it reminded me so much of things that I had experienced or at least heard from people who experienced worse than I. I was born in 1934 in Vienna, Austria, and my mother and we three little girls had to flee the Russians with just what we could carry in April of '45. Your book is a great service to history. Very few Americans understand what it meant for regular people (those who were not Jews or otherwise persecuted) to have lived in Germany at that time.
—Diethild Harrington, Westborough, MA
Thank you for writing such a frank, informative, warm and educated book about the war years, the Nazi regime and the heroic part that your family took part in...I celebrate that your family was able to not only survive but to ultimately thrive and to share their gifts in the United States...
—Pam Seed, Gilford, NH
"I was riveted by the story and the history!"
—Kara J. Lee, Claremont, NH
"Comprehensive and sensitively told."
—Jill Edson, Claremont, NH
"Amazing story—well told and illustrated with incredible photos."
—Sharon Wood, Claremont, NH
"It made the history of World War II really come alive!"
—Kim Keene, Newburyport, MA
“I am a German reader who read Flight of Remembrance from the first to the last page in a few days (without an English/German dictionary because the words I didn’t understand became understandable due to the sentences). My wife and I are both WWII kids, and when we discussed certain chapters, tears were running. In the past, when we met Americans in our Baltic Sea home or in the States, we never spoke about WWII. But we changed our opinion since reading this book and we are now recording our own eye-witness experiences from the war. This book is worth buying and reading. You won't regret it!”
—Manfred and Roswitha Boeddecker, Bavaria, Germany
“What a wonderful story of love and evidence of God's protecting hand upon this family time and time again throughout events in a time of war, but yet with hope for a future. The story was beautifully written with many family photographs to connect the reader...to the Dutzmann's lives. This is a wonderful account of finding love and devoting your life to each other. With much strength and courage this family persevered through the devastation of war, and in God's timing, was able to have the fulfillment of a new beginning.”
—Priscilla L. Huff, Adult Services Librarian, Wakarusa Public Library, Wakarusa, Indiana
“My father...was an officer in the Red Arrow Division of the American Army. He died on March 31, 1945, while fighting in France. I never knew my father, since I was conceived the night before he left to go overseas...Your book opened my mind and soul to the other side, with the grief, hardship, and struggles that the German citizens experienced...Thanks again for writing such a poignant, true story of love and war. I hope to see your book made into a movie soon!”
“The power of family and faith in time of conflict...This is a compelling story of one family's struggle to remain united in the midst of the destruction, terror and persecution that engulfed Europe during WW2. Despite forced separations, physical deprivation, and other seemingly overwhelming obstacles, the Dutzmann family not only survives but does so with dignity and optimism. The story is told through a combination of scholarly research, intimate memories and family artifacts...It is a story which too often goes untold and is lost as the "greatest generation" dies. Ms. Dutzmann has captured the story of her family's experience in a book for future generations.”
“Marina Dutzmann Kirsch presents the big picture of the development of the V2 rocket while not neglecting such childhood memories as the children's book, Der Struwwelpeter...EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS TIME IN WORLD HISTORY. THIS BOOK IS AN EXCELLENT PLACE TO BEGIN!”
–Martha J Pritchard
"Engaging overview of how one family's fascinating history weaves together with a time that became a landmark in human history. Images and story, a pleasure..."
"Interesting, poignant, and of particular interest to me as a grandchild of German-Americans and a child of a WWII veteran."
“This book is totally involving... the narrative itself just pulls the reader along and the words come vibrantly alive! Written in a superb style of writing that could only have been accomplished through endless research, writing and rewriting plus a great measure of talent, perseverance and dedication. We fell in love with the courageous mother of Lilo--the woman that neither hell nor high water nor Russians nor family could hold back from reaching her goal of helping others and experiencing adventure! The author's riveting writing enables readers to share in the rare and delicious highs and the terribly frightening lows of that time before she was born. Her writing is a wonderful gift of filial piety like few will ever know, and through it, she has unearthed a treasure trove of characters for readers to enjoy.”
“I felt so many emotions while reading this astounding book...Marina shares in a very beautiful and loving way, her family's plight. Her style of writing flows, embraces, reveals, and heals. A story like this should be recommended reading in school, so our young people would see life as it was during that dark night of the universal soul.”
“Flight of Remembrance is very personally written and researched from diaries of those who suffered through the other side of World War II. It would make a terrific movie. What impressed us the most was the strength and courage of the family who had so few choices available to them at the time...The part of the book that brought us to tears was the number of kind and selfless acts of ordinary people who helped this family survive. It shows clearly that individual efforts of friends and even strangers, while small compared to those events occurring in history, actually do count for so much in the lives of others.”
–Peg McIntosh and Bob Evans
“A valuable read for persons interested in the reality of ordinary citizens in a war zone. Set in Latvia and Germany prior to and during WWll, it is a facinating read for anyone who reads history.”
“An inspiring love story of a family torn by the vagaries of war. A wonderful love story with a happy ending.”
"A well written story of two people, whose hopes and dreams, were shattered by the events of WWII. Their will to survive, and love for each other, helped them to survive against overwhelming odds. Once I started reading this book, it was hard to put it down."
“What an amazing story! I can't begin to imagine the amount of time that was spent in writing this story about the Dutzmann and Wassull families before, during, and after World War II. Flight of Remembrance shares common threads with other wartime accounts: doing what was necessary to stay alive, fleeing repeatedly from the Russian army advancing from the east, and searching for loved ones who had become separated from them in late war and post-war years. This truly is a story of love, courage, hope, inspiration, and God's protective hand during desperate times. Stories like this need to be told so that people will never forget what happened during that war.”
“I am so grateful to the author for writing this book! I met the Dutzman family a few years ago and have enjoyed these beautiful people. Being able to read more about their past is a real blessing. I treasure time with them, in the book and in person.”
“I couldn’t put it down! Not only was I interested in the historical background, but found myself increasingly absorbed by the people, their plight, their courage, their resolve... It was interesting to me that Ernst was such an accomplished person with his work involving Wernher von Braun and the development of rocketry. But also Rolf acquired two degrees, one each in aeronautical engineering and... mechanical engineering, and did so under such difficult circumstances. I don’t very often get emotional about a story, but tears came to my eyes, not once, but twice during the reading of this story. The first time was when Rolf & Lilo were able to get married under very trying times in Nazi Germany, and after having suffered many days and months apart. Then tears again came to my eyes when they got the necessary clearance to immigrate to the United States. This is a very moving story and I would recommend it to anyone interested in that period of the history...during those trying times in Latvia, Poland and Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.”
“Wonderful book...I thoroughly enjoyed every page! The author was attentive to details as if she had been right there! Fascinating, lively, informative without losing the personal touch... Hard work, thorough research and excellent photos all made this well worth reading. I didn’t want to stop...!”
“Beautifully done, amazingly well designed, impressive. BRAVO is all I can say, and congratulations!”
“Mesmerizing...I couldn't put it down. This would make such a riveting movie...I will always cherish this book!”
“Words cannot describe how wonderful this book is. The perspective is so unique and I felt like I was right there. I laughed out loud at times, cried at times, and spent the rest of the time with a furrowed brow, letting myself get pulled in deeper and deeper. I think a lot of people, especially my generation, take so much for granted and this book is a perfect reminder that we should remember to always be thankful to God for what we have. I loved this book so much that instead of just posting about it on Facebook or telling my friends about it I plan on gifting a book to each of them on their birthdays.”
“This book is a compelling and informative chronicle of a family's ordeal throughout the totality of World War II. From the very beginning, the reader senses the adversities that the protagonists Rolf and Lilo are about to face, and it makes the book difficult to put down...The saga would make a riveting and thought provoking film.”
“I am up to Chapter 6 and can't put it down! It is so riveting and the writing and description are so great! As an American with German ancestors, I can feel for...people being torn by war and just trying to stay alive, not to mention figuring out their allegiance to which country, etc. It made me cry at the end when they were embraced by the people who sponsored them in America.”
“This incredible memoir is one I have shared with friends and family and suggest you do the same. It captures your imagination and touches your heart. What a gem! Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. I was engaged in the background, the historical content and of course, the love story and emotional roller coaster ride of the families involved in this period of time during WW II. Kudos to Marina for capturing and sharing this love story with all of us. May there be a sequel!”
“This book was so interesting and enjoyable...It really put me in the WWII world in a very personal way.”
“Good insight of the dynamics when good people must choose the lesser evil to stay alive and together.”
–Gayle F. Sargent
“What an amazing story. I can't begin to imagine the amount of time that was spent in writing this story about the Dutzmann and Wassull families before, during, and after World War II. Flight of Remembrance shares common threads with other wartime accounts: doing what was necessary to stay alive, fleeing repeatedly from the Russian army advancing from the east, and searching for loved ones who had become separated from them in late war and post-war years. This truly is a story of love, courage, hope, inspiration, and God's protective hand during desperate times. Stories like this need to be told so that people will never forget what happened during that war.”
–Loves to Read, Fremont, CA
Kirschstone Books • Kensington, New Hampshire • 978-270-3523 •