Author: Patricia WalkowPosted: April 1, 2017 | |
The War Within, the Story of Josef
Author: Patricia Walkow
The War Within, the Story of Josef, is a creative nonfiction biography of Josef, a teenage Christian Polish slave laborer, forced to work in Nazi Germany during World War II. The setting is Nazi Germany, French Occupied Germany after the end of World War II, and New York City. The span of years for the story is 1943-1954. Josef was a real person, and experienced all of the events in the story.
At the outset of the story, Josef awakens after his left leg was amputated due to an accident in the factory where he worked in Southern Germany. A talented mechanic, even at his young age, Josef has a natural ability to understand, repair and fabricate machinery. Because of his usefulness, his life is spared, although slave laborers are normally considered expendable, and when injured, are summarily executed. German citizens are prohibited from helping slave laborers. Yet, Willie, a German ambulance driver only a few years older than Josef, saves Josef’s life by taking him to the hospital and allowing him to recuperate in his own home. Willie lives with his mother, Sonya, a loyal German.
Through the course of his recuperation, Josef fights his hatred of the Germans; Sonya roils with emotion as she comes to see the injured boy as a human being, rather than an enemy, and Willie questions his own motivations for helping the young Pole. Ella, a young German girl who is a cook and maid in a nearby house, befriends Josef. She struggles with her own mother’s decision to remove her from school, forcing her to work as a servant. Josef and Ella fall in love and keep their love a secret through the war. When the war ends, they remain in French-occupied Germany, marry, and start a family. As a mixed Polish-German couple they face the ire of the Germans, and, when their eldest son develops tuberculosis, they fear losing him. Through the years, Josef and Willie deepen their friendship, and Ella and Josef decide to emigrate to the US.
This story offers a window into the ways some Germans broke the rules to help their declared enemies. It offers the reader a view into the lives of ordinary people through the last two years of the World War II, Allied occupation, near-starvation, and the agonizing decision to leave Europe and settle in a new land.
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Patricia Walkow is an author whose work has appeared in three award-winning anthologies: Corrales Writing Group 2013 Anthology, Corrales Writing Group 2014 Anthology, and Currents, Corrales Writing Group 2015 Anthology. A new set of her short stories is scheduled for publication in a 2017 anthology, titled Passages. She was a columnist for The Glendale [California] News Press, and Bethlehem [Pennsylvania] Globe Times. She has published articles in Albuquerque, the Magazine, the Corrales Comment and Corrales MainStreet News. She was editor-in-chief of Corrales [New Mexico] MainStreet News for three years.
Ms. Walkow also co-authored Where People and Projects Meet, a project-management book offering tools and techniques for managing the people side of projects, published in 2010. Her newest work, a 110,000 word biographical novel, The War Within, the Story of Josef, was published on June 27th, 2016. It is the story of a teenager who grows to manhood in World War II Germany, where he was a slave laborer.
She was awarded third place for her short story, The Far Moist End of the Earth, in the 2016 William Faulkner Literary Competition. Several of her other short stories have won awards from the New Mexico Press Women organization.