A reader asks???

  • September 11, 2010
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FSG, March 2010

You write in your Author’s Note that the book represents the experiences of your mother and other child emigres from Germany of that era. Just curious … was Aunt Mildred wholly your mother’s experience?

Edith’s story in “N or D” came directly from my mother’s experiences. I didn’t even change the names of her relatives. The book is a work of historical fiction because I assumed my mother’s voice. In addition, I grafted the stories of some of the other One Thousand Children into the work so that the reader would have a fuller experience. However, I didn’t make anything up. Much of the material in the book is based upon excerpts from letters and diaries from the One Thousand Children.

The stories of Aunt Mildred came directly from my mother, but many of the “children” had similar experiences. At the reunion of the One Thousand Children in 2004, I interviewed several immigrants who reported similar treatment in their new American “homes”. Since it was the Depression, some American families agreed to take in the children so that they could receive the small stipend; then, some families used these young immigrants as household help.

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