About the Book
OUT OF THE RUINS:
Growing Up in Post-War Germany
By Otto Schmalz
Like all other German cities, Hannover, West Germany, was in physical and economic ruin when the Second World War came to a close in 1945. Many of the war’s hardships continued for German citizens in the post-war years, and it was exceedingly difficult to get materials enough to live. Everything was considered precious in this extraordinary stretch, and Germans collected, recycled, and reused all that they could, and produced no garbage. This was a population that learned how to make the best of what one has.
Hannover was still in ruin in 1951, and Otto Schmalz, worn down by the bleakness of it all, decided to immigrate to Canada. Out of the Ruins is Schmalz’s frank and intimate story of a teenage boy’s experience of life during the post-World War II era in West Germany.
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