April 24, 2017

Historical novelist Cynthia A. Sandor Completes True Family Story

After 24 years of research and writing, editing and rewriting, historical author, Cynthia A. Sandor, releases her first novel, "Through Innocent Eyes – The Chosen Girls of the Hitler Youth." Spanning fifty-eight years from 1931 to 1989 and set against the epic panorama of Austria during WWII. "Through Innocent Eyes” is a sweeping story of family values, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: through the eyes of an innocent child in the Hitler Youth.

"It's been an incredible, eye-opening, and emotional journey, sifting through my mother’s upbringing, talking with her family and friends about growing up in Austria during WWII, and deciphering hundreds of pages of German documents including my mother’s secret journal from the time she was in the League of German Girls,” says Sandor. "For an entire year, sometimes working in upwards of 90 hours a week, my mind was totally focused and committed to telling the true story of my mother and her comrades who participated in the unknown rural educational finishing school for German girls called 'Country Service Year Camp.'  I was stuck at one point but then God created a miracle. I had the blessed opportunity to visit Austria and Poland for one month and meet with the current owner of the manor home where my mother wrote her journal. I also meet with the last four remaining survivors of Camp Seidorf. We exchanged journals, stories and laughter. Meeting Ellie, Nelly, Steffi, and Marie, brought me closer to my mother than ever before. I returned home with a greater passion to complete my mother’s story.  After visiting all the places she wrote about in her journal, I was ready to finish her story.”

All during her upbringing, Cynthia and her mother Gertrude would travel to Austria where Gertrude would ever so innocently regale her daughter about fond childhood memories, where she was born, where she was raised, and where she met her father, PFC Robert Sandor, who with his infantry, liberated Flossenbürg Concentration Camp.   


The novel provides a complete authentic account of civilian life from the perspective of a war child in her youth.  It offers a richer understanding of what was expected of the girls in the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM). Despite numerous family struggles, “Through Innocent Eyes” is a story of a young girl’s adventure, of her love for her Fatherland, and hope for a greater future, ultimately triumphing with the downfall of Germany, rebuilding a country, and her new future in America.

"My mother was 10 years old when it was mandatory for her to join the League of German Girls.  My grandmother Josefa, despised Hitler. A year later, WWII began,” says Sandor.  “My mother died when she was 61 years old and I want her life to have meaning. Not everyone is aware of how the National Socialistic upbringing in the League of German Girls used paramilitary-like disciplinary measures to build their loyalty and character. Coupled with pagan rituals, songs, and folklore, I wanted to capture the self-actualization of my mother as she progressed from childhood and living in poverty to adolescence and becoming ‘one’ with her country. Germany prepared their children for adulthood,” says Sandor. She was in an elite rural educational camp called ‘Country Service Year Camp.’ This 8-month long camp was a finishing school for specially selected girls. It not only taught them home economics, farming, and working in the community, it taught them to build their self-esteem, become self-reliant, work together in camaraderie, and prepared themselves for adulthood.”

“When the Russian invaded my mother’s hometown Kleinzell, my mother and grandmother, Josefa, fled to the American Zone in Linz, Austria. Leaving her brother Franzel behind, he stood tall to fight in the Hitler Youth against the Russian Army.  After the war, the women became Debris Women, rebuilding their beloved country with their bare hands.”

“As life was slowly returning to normal the stores opened, the newspaper started to print, and Radio Linz started airing. At 17, mother secured a job in a local coffee shop in the Hauptplatz in Linz, and that’s where she met my father, PFC Robert Sandor. On May 8, 1948, they married in the bomb out cathedral known as The Dom. 

“I want to shed light on not only how the girls in the Hitler Youth were raised, but also the true history of League of German Girls by using declassified documents, original leadership pamphlets, and my mother’s authentic personal journal she wrote in 1941 when she was 13 years old. Many assume that the girls were raised to breed as many children as possible - this was not the case at all.  Nothing could be further from the truth.”

About the Story
“Through Innocent Eyes – The Chosen Girls of the Hitler Youth” tells of the true life-struggles of Gertrude Kerschner and her family set in Kleinzell, Austria prior to and after Austria is annexed into Germany. Gertrude’s life embarks on a remarkable journey of camaraderie under the Swastika.  Gertrude’s mother, Josefa becomes financially stable as all of her children are inducted into the Hitler Youth.  As the war progresses, each embarks on their own path towards survival, freedom, loss, death, and ultimately reunite under Western Allies. Based upon the author’s mother’s original journal and anchored in historical fact, “Through Innocent Eyes” celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of a child at war.

Editorial Review


“Cynthia has presented in pedantic detail the daily experience of her mother during her mandatory service in the Hitler Youth in the most compelling and easy to ready way. From the time of her initiation until her completed training at Landjahr Lager Seidorf, the book brings to the reader new perspectives and an intimate first-hand accounting of the purpose, ideology, and daily routines of the Hitler Youth Movement as experienced by Gertrude Kerschner. These details will dispel many possible misconceptions or skewed perspective of the League of German Girls.”  ~ Paul E. Fischer – President – The German Cultural Society of Erie, PA

“…a five-star rating. Through Innocent Eyes” is the fascinating biography of Gertrude Kerschner and her time as a BDM girl in the elite rural educational program called Country Service Year Camp. I was captivated by the steady indoctrination of Gertrude as she progresses from her time in the Young Girls League to becoming a “Girl in Service” for her country. The reader is given a chronological account into the progress of what the BDM girls learned every step of the way. Every chapter builds upon the prior, giving an insightful look into Gertrude’s personal world.” ~ Jeanne Onuska – CEO European Military Historical Society, Conneaut, Ohio. 

About the Author
Cynthia A. Sandor is a historical novelist who weaves past events, people, and stories into a rich tapestry. When she isn't in front of her computer, she shares her knowledge by giving lectures at WWII Living History re-enactments and libraries. In her spare time, she gardens, and travels around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing WWII stories. Cynthia lives with her two Chihuahuas, in Tampa, Florida.
Every August, Ms. Sandor is attending the D-Day Conneaut, Ohio WWII Living History Event. 
Autograph copies are available by going to the AUTHORS WEBSITE - FREE SHIPPING!

 
 


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FREE Autograph Book!
April 15, 2017

***WINNER - Elin T. Gottschalk **** 

FREE AUTOGRAPH BOOK! I will give a way a FREE autograph book anywhere in the world to the first person who places and nominates "Through Innocent Eyes - The Chosen Girls of the Hitler Youth" on the following Goodread's Biography Book List - there are 17 - Ready? Set? Let's go!

Best History Books
Biography
Best Memoir/Biography/Autobiography...
Best Women Author Books
Biography and Memoirs That Are Better Than Fiction
Best Biography
Must Read Non-Fiction
Best Non-Fiction War Books
Best WWII Fiction & Biography
Book is Great With A Love Story on the Side
Life In A Foreign Country
Most Interesting Books About Real People, Real Places and Real Events
Biographies of Ordinary People
Best Books by Florida Writers
Best Non-Fiction Book
Who's That Girl
Inspirational Women


Remember to use the updated cover with all the girls standing on the stairs. Already #1 on Goodread's Best Book on National Socialism. Thank you!


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March 01, 2017

March 4 - 5, 2017 - WW2 Commemorative Weekend -

Dade Battlefield Historic State Park 

7200 County Road 603
Bushnell, Florida 33513
 

The Dade Battlefield Society Inc. will be commemorating the most widespread armed conflict in history and celebrating both military and popular civilian culture during the war years.

Grounds Open 10 am ~~ Battle Engagement 2 pm

$3 per Person Entry fee at Gate
Age 6 and under and WWII Vets free

Allied and Axis Uniformed Re-enactors
Authentic Camps and Equipment
Weapons Demonstrations
Battle between Allied and German Forces
Military Vehicles...
WWII Vendors

Author, Cynthia Sandor, will be showcasing her mother's original journal written when she was 13 years old and participating in the elite rural educational camp called "Country Service Year Camp" (Landjahr Lager). Her display will include her mother's original JM, BDM pins and patches, German Mother's Crosses in Bronze, Silver, and Gold, the bread bags and Rucksacks the BDM girls use to carry over their shoulders.

Currently, "Through Innocent Eyes - The Chosen Girls of the Hitler Youth" is being review for the Eric Hoffer Award.

Independent film company Distant Star Pictures is currently in the pre-production phase of making Ms. Sandor's book into a movie. Only a limited number of books will be available for sale at a 20% discount of $20.00 each.

Autographed and signed by the author, together with a bookmarker and commemorative stamp.


RSVP Here to reserve your copy today!

Author's Web Site

Bdmhistory.com Web Site  
 

 


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Review:  Susan Gill - Dec. 19, 2016 - Amazon
"Before actually reading this book, I assumed I would be reading a sort of apologetic. Girl gets all carried away with Nationalistic pride and then comes to a startling revelation that what she was following was nothing short of text book evil. Surprisingly, however, the book is not that predictable. Far from deriding the activities of Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls) she allows us an unvarnished look at the optimistic and vigorous life of the feminine side of Hitler Youth. Cynthia Sandor, using the journals left behind by her mother Gertrude, recounts the innocent hopefulness her mother enacted while participating in the activities that had become standard fare for these young women. It is story that is largely innocent of the realities of that War. Gertrude is unaware of the atrocities Nazi German was enacting upon Jews. All she can see is the extra money that makes life easier for her mother and its provision by the Third Reich. Gertrude swells with national pride throughout the book and her enthusiasm for linking the natural world with her allegiance to Germany never wanes. The action of the story is exclusively in the countryside where the girls lead healthy and active lives learning the types of skills ignored generally by the mid 20th century world. The book is a fascinating primary source account of one girl's life within the Nazi regime. It is unique in its unapologetic stance towards Gertrude's exuberance , making it an indispensable source for historical inquiry."


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D-Day Conneaut, Ohio - August 19 - 20, 2016 - Author Meet & Greet
July 23, 2016

Public Event - Author Meet and Greet

Dates/Time

Friday - August 19, 2016 - Time: 3:00 - 4:00 pm
Power Point Presentation 


Location:  


Conneaut Public Library
304 Buffalo Street.
Conneaut, Ohio 44030
440-593-1608
My display will be set up at the Library for the entire day.

Saturday - August 20, 2016 - Time: 1:00 - 1:45 pm
Book Talk


Location: 

Conneaut Township Park - Next to PX Tent on the main street
480 Lake Rd.
Conneaut, OH 44030
440-599-7071
Entire display will be set up here all day on Saturday

The above date and time is when I will be giving my presentation.

Otherwise, I will be at these locations the entire day. 
 
Autograph paperback copies of "Through Innocent Eyes" will be available for $25.00. This will include a commemorative stamp and bookmarker.   
About "Through Innocent Eyes - The Chosen Girls of the Hitler Youth" 

Hidden for more than 50 years, a daughter's heritage is revealed when she finds her mother's personal journal from the time she was in the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls).

  
About Country Service Year Camp (Landjahr Lager)

Through the power of camaraderie, the BDM girls in the Country Service Year Camp (Landjahr Lager) program were taught how to build their character in a friendly and fun atmosphere.

The educational curriculum was designed by the Reich’s Ministry of Science, Education and Culture. The focus was to build the girl’s individual potential to become a productive member in society.

Their education went beyond the traditional home economics, sports activities, and child rearing as we have all come to believe. Through a myriad of enriching experiences, these girls developed their interpersonal mental, physical, and spiritual skills. Their challenging assignments included thought provocative discussions, problem-solving activities, and team-building exercises, which ended in their daily prayer.

They contributed to local society by working with the farmers, holding theatrical plays, giving musical performances and organizing festivals for the townspeople.

By the time these girls graduated, they could move onto their chosen vocation from becoming a health service girl to working in agriculture, hospitality, retail, in the office, or assist mothers in home management and childcare. Each girl had an exact understanding of her individual responsibilities and duties to her community. It was a great honor to be chosen for Landjahr Lager.

It will be my honor to personally meet you. This is part of the D-Day Conneaut, Ohio WWII re-enactment and the Conneaut Public Library graciously invited me to give two presentations. I am very honored to be a part of the community.

Watch the book trailer here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP8bzuMf1Ew

Watch Gertrude's Life Story here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I_UDTWsaD8

Websites:
Bund Deutscher Mädel - A Historical Reserach Page and Online Archive - http://www.bdmhistory.com/

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/BDMHistorian/

Thank you for sharing this event with your friends too!

See ya then!

Cindy


 

 


 


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