About the Book
AS THE BOMBS FELL:
My Childhood During the Time the Nazis Ruled
By Otto Schmalz
You almost never get to hear the other side of the story.
What was it like to be a child living in Germany as the country descended into war? What did kids do while their dads were away fighting and the rest of the family was living in either privation or terror, or both?
As the Bombs Fell is a treasure-trove of information about life as a child in Nazi Germany, told by a man who actually lived the experience. Otto Schmalz allows us to see, through the innocent eyes of a child, the realities of German life in several different circumstances – the regimentation and camaraderie of the Jungvolk and the boys camp that children were sent to to get them out of harm’s way in the cities, the pastoral and relatively idyllic life of the agrarian countryside even though there was a war on, the sheer terror of living in a bombed-out city that continues to experience nightly raids. Hannover was a strategic centre and as such received the attention of nearly one million Allied bombs of every kind.
His charming yet nerve-wracking tale is enhanced with numerous historical photos, of Otto, his family and friends, and of the destruction wreaked upon his city as he paints another fascinating yet seldom-seen up-close picture of many German lives in war time.
As the Bombs Fell is a straightforward telling of the other side of the story of the Second World War, with the author’s insights, as he’s learned, into human nature.
Otto Schmalz was born in Germany a year before the Nazis came to power and lived there during the Nazi era. The hard times he experienced as a child during the war and living amongst the ruins of his hometown, Hannover, gave him the drive to immigrate to Canada—in 1951, with five dollars in his pocket and the shirt on his back. What he didn’t have made for a longer list, and included a job and knowledge of the language.
Several years ago, Otto’s daughter encouraged her fearless and flourishing father to write his memoirs.
Otto has already published three books: As the Bombs Fell, Out of the Ruins, and Time for Taking Chances. Taking Chances, his fourth book in a series, ends when Otto is just thirty-four years old. Now eighty-eight and retired, Otto is still writing! He lives in Ottawa with his wife of sixty-four years, Gertrud.
Follow Otto Schmalz on Facebook @ottoschmalzauthor