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The Reluctant Warrior: Former German POW Finds Peace in Texas

Biography of Heino R. Erichsen, a German Boy and POW in WWII

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Book Classifications:History and Biography, Social Sciences, Travel

This is the true story of a typical German boy, Heinrich Richard Erichsen (Heino) before, during, and after WWII. Born in the harbor city of Kiel in 1924, Heino was in elementary school when Hitler rose to power and an adolescent when Hitler declared war. At that point, boys like him were enlisted to rescue bomb survivors. At age 18, Heino was inducted in the Afrika Korps and served in the 22nd Panzer Grenadiers, Gruppe Weber, until they surrendered in Tunisia. He survived several skirmishes, the Battle of Kasserine Pass, and sixteen prison camps. The first were in Oran and in Algeria.

From there, the Afrika Korps was dispersed to POW camps in Europe and the U.S.A. Heino was first incarcerated in Hearne, Texas, where he was put to work as a translator. Then, under threat from ardent Nazis, he was transferred to Fort Knox, Kentucky. Upon Germany’s surrender, Heino, along with a group of young, politically uninvolved POWs, was sent to work on farms in Scotland until repatriation in Germany.

Heino worked as an interpreter/translator for the mayor of Kiel, rebuilding his bombed-out city, until he immigrated to the U.S.A. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1958. The last part of the book describes his years as executive director of an international adoption agency and his travels abroad on orphan-saving missions.

Soft cover, 238 pages, photos, maps, bibliography, glossary, index
ISBN 1-57168-514-6

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