LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A World War II survivor now living in Arkansas is telling her story in a new book penned by an Arkansas author.
“Back to Bremen” dives into the life and death decisions of a typical non-Jewish family in Nazi Germany.
“I just want them to realize what damage war can do. No war is good,” says Edith Röpke Harris, who grew up in Nazi Germany. “It was hard.”
Seventy years later, the now 82-year-old can still recall how the Second World War affected her childhood and separated her family.
“My oldest brother and dad, they were captured at that time,” she continues.
“She is a living page out of history,” says Cecelia Wilson, Author. “Edith was a dear friend of mine and told me her own story.”
Wilson was immediately fascinated by Edith’s harrowing tales of bombings, dead bodies and Gestapo raids.
“I certainly heard all the Holocaust stories before and I knew the Jewish experience but never stopped to consider a non-Jewish German family and how were they affected by the war,” Wilson adds.
The two friends decided to put words to paper.
“It took us a couple years to do it. Cecelia did all the work. All I did was talk,” Edith says.
“We went through a lot of popcorn and Dr. Pepper to get through the details of the story,” Cecelia says.
The result is an inspiring true story called “Back to Bremen.”
“This story is really about her mother Marta,” Cecelia explains.
Through Edith’s childhood eyes, Cecelia’s writing uncovers how a common German mother defied all odds to keep eight children safe.
“She was a good person. As we got older we realized what she went through,” Edith says through tears.
It took many years for Edith’s family to turn the page in post war-torn Germany.
“Their home is gone. She doesn’t know where her husband is,” Cecelia continues.
But it’s an ending worth reading.
“It’s a haunting story,” she says.
To find out what happens to Edith and her family for yourself, you can buy a copy of “Back to Bremen” at all major retailers or online.
Tomorrow morning in North Little Rock, Cecelia will speak and sign books, along with Edith, at the Argenta Library (click here for more information).
Click here to visit the “Back to Bremen” website.