Posted April 29, 2008
Book provides child’s view of German life under the Nazis
By Liz Welter, Marshfield News-Herald
The horrors of life in Germany during the Holocaust are well documented. But it’s rare to hear the accounts of life under the Nazi regime from the perspective of a child.
A memoir of a German family during World War II, “Eyes are Watching, Ears are Listening,” was recently published. The author, Eycke Strickland, has a son and grandchildren living in the area and will attend an event at Book World while visiting family this week.
The stories about the wartime experiences of his mother’s family were integral to his life, said Eycke’s son, Nils. He lives in Rozellville, is retired from the military and flies a Spirit helicopter for Saint Joseph’s Hospital.
“I was the typical kid, fascinated with the army and playing with toy soldiers. She wanted to make sure we knew the reality of war, that it is a lot of misery and death,” said Nils, describing his mother’s accounts of war and witnessing the devastation of the Holocaust.
While Eycke’s father schemed and charmed Nazi officials to save his Jewish workers and their families, her mother protected the family from spies and Nazi officials with extraordinary courage. Woven through the accounts of her parents’ activities are Eycke’s stories of growing into adolescence and beginning to understand the horrors happening around her family.
“I thought I had heard all the stories growing up but this, as a book, it’s very remarkable, powerful,” Nils said.
“My grandfather was a veteran of World War I and he, like many other veterans, wanted to see democracy work in Germany. There was a fear that Germany would become communist. The Nazis traded on that. The Nazis gave security,” he said.
When a society trades its freedoms for security, Nils said it opens a path to tyranny that can result in a genocide like the Holocaust.
Those who deny the Holocaust happened escape from confronting the reality that humans have the capacity for tremendously evil actions, Nils said.
“It is so difficult to imagine that a country like Germany, with so much culture, could allow something like this to happen,” he said.
“As a German you have two choices,” Nils said. “You come to terms with it and deal with it, or you can pretend that it never happened. That is the path of least resistance emotionally.”
Posted May 4, 2008
Book Review: Nazi Germany seen through eyes of a child
By Liz Welter
Central Wisconsin Sunday staff
Children have a capacity to forgive and survive terrible tragedy. They understand more than adults fathom, which is integral to “Eyes are Watching, Ears are Listening,” a memoir from a child’s perspective of life in Nazi Germany during World War II.
The author, Eycke Strickland, immigrated to the United States as a young bride in 1958.
The year Adolph Hitler consolidated power in Germany, 1933, was the year of Strickland’s birth. She begins her memoir setting a stage for readers to understand the cunning manipulation using fear and propaganda by the Nazis to warp and twist the young minds of the community school children.
Interwoven through stories of typical German family life, the reader begins to sense the growing awareness among Strickland and her siblings that life is not as idyllic as they perceive.
The author describes how she learns her father is scheming and charming Nazi officials to save his Jewish workers and their families, while her mother is protecting the family from spies and Gestapo officials with extraordinary courage. Woven through the accounts of her parents’ attempts to protect their Jewish friends are Strickland’s and her siblings’ tales of the horrors they witness in their community.
The memoir is written from the point of view of a young girl becoming a teenager. It is poignant and elegantly written. The quick-witted thinking of the parents when confronted by Nazi officials is courageous and prompts the thought of, “Under similar circumstances what would I do?”
May 14, 2008
Author to speak about war years in Germany
Author Eycke (Laabs) Strickland is speaking at Peninsula College’s Studium General program on Thursday, May 15, 2008 from noon to 1 p.m. at the college’s Forks Extension at 71 South Forks Avenue, Forks, Washington.
Strickland is the author of the book “Eyes are Watching, Ears are Listening: Growing Up in Nazi Germany, 1933-1946” and will tell of her experiences as a young girl living in Germany and near the Auschwitz death camp in Poland during the years of World War II. Her father risked his life in helping rescue Jews from the Holocaust during the war and was later honored by Israel. More information is available at her Web site: www.eyckestrickland.com.