Lost diary reveals veteran’s Nazi experience
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – Almost 90 years after an American teenager visited Germany on a Boy Scout trip and documented his travels in a diary, his daughter wrote a book of historical fiction based on the scenes haunting that he described six years before the start of World War II.
He had been in Europe for the Boy Scouts of America Fourth World Jamboree in Hungary, but had stopped in other countries, including Germany.
“I had this suitcase in the diary in my possession since 1995, when my father died, but I never really took the time to investigate it and see what it contained,” said Cathy Lewis. , the daughter of the veteran captain of the United States Army. who kept a detailed diary of his travels in 1933.
In 2018, Lewis had a career downtime and decided to open the suitcase. Inside, she found her father’s diary.
“So I started to investigate the contents of the suitcase and the diary and there was a verse in the diary [from his time in Germany] it really hit me, ”she explained,“ My dad wrote about meeting this youngster. [German] man. And then he wrote: ‘I found him a good boy.’ It really hit me because I thought, okay what my dad doesn’t know, at 16 and a half is 10 years later he’s going to meet my mom who was a Jewish immigrant whose the extended family was murdered by the Nazis. “
“No Austrian or German boy could attend the jamboree. And they were, it was compulsory to join the Hitler Youth because they were becoming paramilitaries. So my father wrote about his meeting with this young man. And then he wrote, “I found him to be a good boy. It really hit me because I thought, okay what my dad doesn’t know, at 16 and a half is 10 years later he’s going to meet my mom who was a Jewish immigrant whose the extended family was murdered by the Nazis. “
“Most of the Germans had bought into the lies spread by Hitler about the Jews being, you know, the bane of the world and they were the cause of their defeat in World War I and they were the reason of their failure as a nation. economically And so he convinced the people to believe that by exterminating them all, Germany would have a chance to become the greatest nation in the world.
“I never really asked him what he thought about it between 1933 and then loving, 1967 when he started telling me about the whole trip. But, he said looking back historically, he saw this beginning to unfold but didn’t realize what it was back then because he was 16 and only there for four days and didn’t really understand how, how it was serious or how important it was. was going on, because he had nothing to do before that before. “
“One of the reasons I was so attached to writing the book was to convey that this kind of brutal hatred is mounting very easily in the world. And if we don’t do anything to eradicate it, it can happen again. . “
To pre-order Lewis’ book, The road we took: 4 days in Germany 1933, click here.