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jhmattern
01-15-2006, 09:01 AM
I've always been a family history buff in addition to being a writer. Years ago, while interviewing my grandfather about growing up during WWII, I promised him that some day I'd write down all of his stories. Well, my tapes were lost in a house fire a few years back, and he passed away before I could talk to him again. I want to make good on that promise.

My family's history is from parts of Germany now included in Russia and Poland, after WWII. My great grandfather was openly defiant towards the Nazis and was imprisoned towards the end of the war. After the war, when the land was annexed from Germany, my family was forced to leave their flour mill and farm near Allenstein (I believe that's the correct town), which I think was in East Prussia at the time. Many families, whether they supported the Nazis or not, were forced from their homes. I was fortunate to find a gentleman a little younger than my grandfather who lived through it, and who told me about the violence involved. It's not something you often hear about when you hear about WWII; the displacement of Germans I mean. Since I can't write my grandfather's exact stories, I'd like to put together a fictional piece revolving around the time period with a family in a similar situation being displaced from their home.

Does anyone know of any resources that could help, or who were living during the time, or whose families may have been affected?

Thanks!

erinbee
01-16-2006, 07:40 AM
I would recommend a long trip to the library, a discussion with the reference librarian, and maybe some Google searches for some WWII history-related bulletin boards. I, too, have worked on a fictional manuscript set in Germany during that time and I find that the [nerdy] military history buffs have lots of great tidbits on what everyday life was like.

Sadly, there was SO much displacement and chaos going on then that a lot of information about the civilians affected by the war was lost or not recorded, so it's definitely a challenging field.

However, I think that if your narrative is strong enough, it shouldn't really rely on those historical details as a crutch, but should use them to give a sense of authenticity and "place" to the story.

DaveKuzminski
01-17-2006, 06:36 AM
Visit a retirement home. Some of the older individuals living in those may have background to offer you. A few might even have immigrated in the 50s or 60s and have just the knowledge you seek.