Based on the true story of two young people who became heroes, winner of eight awards – Surviving the Fatherland is the triumphant, epic tale of two youths whose courage and resilience stands for the forgotten childhood of an entire generation.
“This book needs to join the ranks of the classic survivor stories of WWII such as ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ and ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. It is truly that … Meaning’. It is truly that amazing!” InD’tale Magazine
“This type of raw, articulate, history-based storytelling pays homage to the war children who bore witness while struggling to survive.” Publishers Weekly (PW)
Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953 and set against the epic panorama of WWII, author Annette Oppenlander’s SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children’s war.
Solingen, Germany, 1940: When her father goes off to war, seven-year-old Lilly is left with an unkind mother who favors her brother and chooses to ignore the lecherous pedophile next door. A few blocks away, twelve-year-old Günter also loses his father to the draft and quickly takes charge of supplementing his family’s ever-dwindling rations by any means necessary.
As the war escalates and bombs begin to rain, Lilly and Günter’s lives spiral out of control. Every day is a fight for survival. On a quest for firewood, Lilly encounters a dying soldier and steals her father’s last suit to help the man escape. Barely sixteen, Günter ignores his draft call and embarks as a fugitive on a harrowing 47-day ordeal–always just one step away from execution.
When at last the war ends, Günter grapples with his brother’s severe PTSD and the fact that none of his classmates survived. Welcoming denazification, Lilly takes a desperate step to rid herself once and for all of her disgusting neighbor’s grip. When Lilly and Günter meet in 1949, their love affair is like any other. Or so it seems. But old wounds and secrets have a way of rising to the surface once more.
2017 National Indie Excellence Award, 2019 Gold Global eBook Award, 2018 Indie B.R.A.G. Award, 2017 Winner Chill with a Book Readers’ Award, Finalist 2017 Kindle Book Awards, 2018 Readers’ Favorite Book Award, Discovered Diamond Historical Novel, An IWIC Hall of Fame Novel, 2020 Skoutz Award Midlist (German translation)