Child of War is not your ordinary war memoir. Told from the perspective of a child, Ingrid Polonius' earliest memories of being alive include running for her life to bomb shelters while the sirens of Kassel, Germany, wailed their daily air-raid warnings. In 1943, the Allies stepped up their air attacks on Germany, sending bombers day and night to obliterate Ingrid's hometown, a major producer of Panzer tanks. The Allies then breached the Edersee Dam just outside Kassel, flooding her hometown, creating massive devastation. Ingrid witnessed it all, living through events no child should ever have to endure.
Civilians were now paying the ultimate price as the Allies exacted retribution against Adolf Hitler and his war machine. Many of these civilians included true innocents, such as Ingrid, who was a blameless little girl, a child of war. Ingrid's moving memoir recounts the very worst and best of her experiences in war-torn Germany and the Cold War aftermath.
Ingrid's beloved mother played a crucial role in saving Ingrid and her brother and sister's lives many times through her iron will to survive. Ironically, she also risked their lives by refusing to fly the Nazi flag and clandestinely copying out anti-Nazi sermons in her basement by candlelight.
Told with compassion and an eye for detail, Child of War: A Memoir is Ingrid's personal testimony of the effects of war upon children. Through emotional and spiritual perseverance, Ingrid thrived as an athlete and student, making the best of the hard years following the war, now known as The Hunger Years. She was there during the rise of the Cold War, the building of the Berlin Wall, and many years later, she celebrated its eventual collapse.
Ingrid's memoir is a study in memory, as she writes, "Memory is a fragile thing, turning powerful when triggered." She fearlessly examines the tremendous losses, especially the family members who died, such as Uncle Lu, who commanded a U-boat and was lost at sea in the early stages of the war, leaving behind a wife and two children.
In another twist of fate, Ingrid ended up settling in the United States and becoming an American citizen. Never did she imagine she would end up a citizen of the country her family surrendered to when American tanks rolled in, and two GIs burst into their home pointing their machine guns directly at her.
Ultimately, Child of War portrays the life of a young girl growing into a woman, who, despite surviving bombardments, near starvation, and unimaginable loss, has managed to fashion a life well worth living, finding joy and optimism in service to others.