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Publisher's Summary

After the death of Joanie Holzer Schirm's parents in 2000, she found hundreds of letters, held together by rusted paperclips and stamped with censor marks, sent from Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, China, and South and North America, along with journals, vintage film, taped interviews, and photographs. In working through these various materials documenting the life of her father, Oswald "Valdik" Holzer, she learned of her family history through his remarkable experiences of exile and loss, resilience and hope.

In this posthumous memoir, Schirm elegantly recreates her father's youthful voice as he comes of age as a Jew in interwar Prague, escapes from a Nazi-held army unit, practices medicine in China's war-ravaged interior, and settles in the United States to start a family. Introducing us to a diverse cast of characters ranging from the humorous to the menacing, Holzer's life story is an inspirational account of survival during wartime, a cinematic epic spanning multiple continents, and ultimately a tale with a twist-a book that will move listeners for generations to come.

©2019 Joanie Holzer Schirm (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • toni
  • 29-03-2019

The sides of WWII you might never have read

The author Joanie Schirm, has taken us on a journey from Moravia/ Bohemia from the First World War through the journey of her father’s life in escaping the Nazis, to wartime China, to the United States. His life
Of service
And continuing to attempt to volunteer or seek employment continually being rejected while maintaining a positive attitude is remarkable. His wife is a pivotal component in his life that keeps the plates spinning all along.
Remarkably engaging and well worth the time. A fast
Read even though it is filled with facts and detail.
Loved it

7 people found this helpful

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  • marykk
  • 18-03-2019

What an adventurous life

Here is a man who was able to overcome life-threatening circumstances and create a new life for himself. It's part travelogue, part history lesson, part love story. You also learn how Czechoslovakia was betrayed by the Allies giving in to Hitler with the mistaken idea that giving away one country to him could create peace. It is hard to imagine how Holzer managed to go from one situation to another when the world was at war. The primary narrator was rather bland, sounding as though he had the book memorized and was narrating by rote.

6 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 24-09-2020

Should be required reading in schools

Book puts grim pictures and statistics of Nazi death camps in a family context. Very inspirational a man who lost over 40 of his family mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, aunts and uncle’s wanted to spend the rest of his life serving others.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Keith
  • 15-01-2021

Listen to the whole book.

After some time in the book, I thought it was simply a anti-climactic story of an individual’s life. However, as it progresses, I began to feel the weight of what he must have suffered though. Excellent book and well done by his daughter, the author.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Linda
  • 11-12-2020

Excellent book

Excellent book for those of us fascinated by the stories of individuals during WWII. Good writing and an engrossing story both heartbreaking and uplifting.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kate
  • 29-11-2020

My dear boy is a fascinating insight

A great addition to the story of the 2 nd world war. When paired with the little Dutch girl. And other books about queen elizabeth, Churchill, Roosevelt and others one begins to understand how freedom from tyranny hangs by a thread!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bird Girl
  • 08-04-2021

Excellent story, terrible male reader

I loved this book so much. I wouldn’t let the fact that the reader has a very annoying way of speaking deter you from listening. I would highly recommend just reading it for yourself.

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  • Elizabeth Harwell
  • 21-03-2021

Well I wasn’t tough in history class

An amazing memoir. The good reminder of how horrific human beings can be to each other. A good reminder of how we should aspire as human beings in the face that’s such chore

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  • Nana to all
  • 17-03-2021

honoring lives

the beginning was a little confusing. but once the story started to unravel and reweave it was easy to follow. well written, compelling.

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  • Pen Name
  • 08-03-2021

Great read

Mesmerizing tale and history of a valiant young Czech Doctor during the devastating Ww II years as he maneuvered from Prague to China to the US - always haunted by the oriel of his family still in Prague

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