Get out the tissues, before you read this memoir.,
August 16, 2009
By Falling Off The Shelf (http://fallingoffthesh... (Shippensburg, PA USA) - See all my reviews
This review was originally posted on my review blog : Falling Off The Shelf.
The story of Lizzi and Fredl is a real account of their journey to freedom from the Nazis. They start out in the their home country of Austria, and make their way to America. They bounce from town to town, and are put through the horrors of a war they should never have had to endure. Lizzi had to sit back and watch as her husband was arrested multiple times, and thrown into labor camps where he nearly died. All she could do was wish, and hope that he would be strong enough to survive so she could spend one last day with him.
I had a hard time reading this book without crying. I have always been intrigued by stories of the Holocaust, not because they are something that we should be intrigued about, but because they are stories that we should remember. All of those innocent lives lost, because of a man that was prejudice. It pulls at my heart to know that these people went through what they did.
I was honored to have been able to read and review a copy of Lizzi & Fredl, thanks to Bostick Communications for being the middle man in this wonderful exchange. The author, William B. Stanford, was very kind, and even stopped by to let me know he was anxiously awaiting my review. It was a wonderful, wonderful read, and I would like to thank him as well. I would highly recommend this memoir to those of you who like to read about the history of the Holocaust, but beware, you will need some tissues to get through the ride.
A must read true story, July 27, 2009
By ReneeSuz (northern Alabama) - See all my reviews
This book interested me because it was about a Catholic couple and the horrors they encountered in Europe during WWII. It is a very different story than that told in It Happened In Italy. I am thankful to William Stanford for nudging his parents to tell their stories before they died so that we can know more about this horrific chapter in our world's history.
Lizzi & Fredl is a well written book. Stanford's use of alternating chapters between Lizzi and Fredl's accounts worked well to tell a unified story even when they were living apart which was much of the seven years described. I loved this book and am thankful to Bostick Communications for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
A love to conquer hate, July 27, 2009
By Emily Decobert "Ms. Librarian" (Mortons Gap, KY United States) - See all my reviews
The events of the years leading up to and during WWII are a fascination with historians and history buffs still today. It is a sort of morbid curiosity; how could such evil ever exist and how could whole nations fall under its sway? In truth, many people in the occupied countries did not agree with Hitler and they had no choice but to run for their lives. This book tells of two such people.
Alfred and Alice Steiner, Fredl and Lizzi, were living normal lives in Vienna, Austria when the Nazis came and destroyed everything. Fredl was a master jeweller and Lizzi was a talented seamstress and their life had been going well. When Fredl received orders to report to a Nazi factory to help build timing devices for their bombs, they knew they had to leave. They would never assist the Nazis but there was another issue. Lizzi's family was Jewish. They didn't practice their faith, but that didn't matter to Hitler. In the end, Fredl and Lizzi along with his two brothers and their wives fled Austria.
However, they didn't run far enough. They made it to France, but it was taken by the Nazis as well. For the next seven years, Fredl was kept in various work camps as Lizzi struggled to free him. There was always danger, the Nazis were hunting down people who had fled the occupation in other countries to force them back to be interrogated and killed. Many times Fredl and Lizzi almost died and were saved in the last moments.
This is a wonderful blend of novel and history book rolled into one. It is an accurate account of the trials of this couple as they fought for survival and not at all fiction. But; it is not at all dry. Stanford creates the real life characters of his parents with such vibrance and tenderness that the reader can not help but become as involved with these two as they become with the couple of a well-written fiction.
As a historical account it is very detailed. Here is not a general focus of what battles happened at what time. Instead, readers are given an account of the daily life of people caught in the middle of the hell. Everyday issues like having to register at every address change, learning a foreign language while keeping your true nationality secret, and continually walking past soldiers that could send you to die in a concentration camp are explained. Often historical accounts leave out the life of the common man but this story is centred not on the war but on the survival of two determined people.
This wonderful book gives readers a chance to relive the bravery of people caught in this hell. They are not called `The Greatest Generation' lightly, it is a honor they earned.
Love Story, July 25, 2009
By Sandra K. Stiles (Sarasota, Florida) - See all my reviews
Lizzi & Fredl was one of the most intense books I have read in a long time. It is the story of Lizzie & Fredl Steiner. Born and raised in Austria, they fled to France along with Fredl's two brothers and their wives to escape helping Hitler in his war. For years Fredl and Lizzie were separated. She and her sister Elise would escape or be forced to leave one city in France for another. Often they had no jobs or had to perform work they were not used to. Their husbands on the other hand were put in work or interment camps or detention centers. They fought long and hard to make their way to America to start a new life. This is their story. The atrocities the French people and those living in their country were terrible. I learned so much from reading this book that I had never known before. Near the end of the book they talked about the emotions they felt when they saw the Statue of Liberty and I cried. I felt the emotions they felt. For me that part was very realistic. Ten months after 9/11 my husband, daughter, and I found ourselves in New York. We took a trip around the island. I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty. I had to sit in my seat as I was so overcome with emotions. I felt what she stood for in my heart. I was able to relate my feelings to what the Steiner's felt. This is a must read. Especially for anyone who loves this time period in history or loves reading memoirs. I gave this book a rating of 5 out of 5.
What a Journey!, at a July 6, 2009
By Amos Lassen (Little Rock, Arkansas) - See all my reviews
Stanford. William Dr. "Lizzi and Fredl", iUniverse, 2008.
Most of the stories that we read about the Holocaust are about the Jews that died or survived under Hitler. There were others as well who suffered greatly but there are few accounts of what they went through. In this book we meet Lizzi and Fredl Steiner, Catholics, who fell victims to the horrors of World War II.
The setting is Oradour-Sur-Glane, a place where some of the most horrible atrocities of the Nazi regime occurred. The town was destroyed by a Nazi Panzer division and the citizens were exterminated. No one has ever learned nor understood why. Fredl was the father of the author and an eye-witness to what happened and somehow he managed to escape. He was an accomplished master jeweler at 27 and his wife, Lizzi, 26, was a dressmaker. He received orders to report to Munich to serve the Nazi Party and the couple realized that they had no choice but to leave Austria and traveled to France which held no safety for them. Fredl was captured by Nazi sympathizers and had to find a way to get through the concentration and labor camps. Lizzi managed to evade arrest and began to search for Fredl. Here began a seven year journey to Paris which included Fredl's rescue from a Nazi death train.
What a story this is! It reads like a movie. Stanford interviewed his parents when they were in their mid-80's and from that he produced this book. The story is told in a way that the reader feels that he is right there. The description is amazing and Stanford has taken his parent's memories and given us an excellent look at the horrors that they suffered. This is a powerful book that will not easily be forgotten. It is a "tour de force" in the way the subject is handled and the way the author brings everything together is remarkable.
An excellent read of real life heroes in the dark world of World War II, February 11, 2009
By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) - See all my reviews
Sometimes it's hard to differentiate between a Hollywood movie and real life. "Lizzi & Fredl: A Perilous Journey of Love and Faith" tell of a once happily married couple living in Vienna, Austria in the 1930s. Expectedly, the Nazi war machine begins to invade their life and in trying to evade it, Fredl is sent to the dreaded camps throughout the region, laboring for the very government he hates. Lizzi uses cunning and skill to get around Europe, and must rescue her husband before he ends up in the notorious death camps. A true story reading like a fast paced adventure novel, "Lizzi & Fredl" is an excellent read of real life heroes in the dark world of World War II.
A captivating memoir ! , February 4, 2009
By RebeccasReads.com (Austin, Texas) - See all my reviews
Reviewed by Kam Aures for RebeccasReads (1/09)
"Lizzi & Fredl" is the biography of Dr. William B. Stanford's parents. When his parents were in their mid-eighties he interviewed them regarding their experiences during the war. The process took approximately two years and the result is this wonderful 424-page memoir.
In their mid to late twenties, Lizzi and Fredl Steiner live in Vienna. Lizzi is working as a dressmaker and Fredl is employed as a jeweler. The couple ends up having to flee to France in an attempt to escape Hitler. Once in France, however, their feeling of safety is short-lived as Fredl is placed into a concentration camp and Lizzi is forced to flee from town to town in an effort to survive.
The book covers a seven-year period beginning in 1938 and alternates between Lizzi and Fredl's recollections of the events that took place. I really enjoyed Stanford choosing to tell his parent's story in this way. Much of the time the two are apart, and it was very interesting to see what was happening to each of them as individuals.
Once I started reading "Lizzi & Fredl: A Perilous Journey of Love and Faith" I had extreme difficulty in putting it down. I wanted to keep reading to see what was going to happen next. Stanford's writing expertly grabs the reader's attention in the beginning pages and effectively holds that attention until the final pages are turned.
The manner in which Stanford tells his parent's story almost makes you feel as if you are there. His descriptive passages allowed me to vividly picture the events taking place. One image that is still engrained in my mind is that of Lizzi's mother when Lizzi and Fredl left Vienna. Lizzi and Fredl tried to inconspicuously board a passenger train in order to secretly flee the country. When the train was pulling away from the station Fredl caught a glimpse of someone running next to the train. "It was Lizzi's mother trying to say one last good-bye. She tried to keep up with the train, frantically waving a white handkerchief. Spying her mother, Lizzi felt her heart sink; she fought back tears, and her throat pained her as she tried to swallow her anguish. A flood of emotions filled her heart. It was almost unbearable. And, tragically, she couldn't acknowledge her mother's presence." (p.4) The entire book is written in the same manner, allowing you to get a solid grasp on everything that happens.
Stanford has transformed his parent's memories into an excellent bound work. There are photos and copies of relevant documents throughout the memoir, which add immensely to the reading experience. Lizzi and Fredl's story is a powerful one and I highly recommend this excellent book!
Have to read book!! , January 7, 2009
By Reader Views "www.readerviews.com" (Austin, Texas) - See all my reviews
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (1/09)
Dr. Stanford has written an incredible book about his parents who were living in Austria when Hitler began his tormentuous journey.
Having read many personal accounts of life with Hitler, this book really saddened me and made me really look at what was going on in the life in people who were caught up in this hell. As a psychologist who has studied torture victims for over two years, I can say it is nothing that anyone will ever understand; nor can one fully realize what these individuals and families went through.
Hitler is overrunning Austria in 1938. Lizzi and Fredl are happy where they are, have successful jobs and family members around them. The fear that they feel in being drawn into Hitler's pathology only reinforces that they must leave. Scared, traumatized, at what they see, they leave every possession they have and their family to escape. Dodging spotlights, Hitler patrols, the couple along with friends and family seeks to leave to France where they think they will be safe. Little do they know that as the war increases they will never know whom to trust, even Fredl's own brother. His brother and wife are separated, and the wife does not want to leave their homeland. It causes many problems within the family.
Fredl is arrested many times, the government thinking he is a Jew and a spy. Crawling on the ground, having neither food nor money, is a hard road to go. When Fredl is arrested, Lizzi doesn't know where he is and he is in poor health. Luckily, she meets many who are in the same situation, and they help her find her husband and get jobs.
Hitler's soldiers don't care if you are dying or what your excuse is. They are out to control Europe. Many are sent to detention camps to work until they are dead- it almost happened to Fredl. Lizzi fared better in that she was a master seamstress and gained the trust of all she met.
As in war, each area has different rules and the author has given a great detailed account of the political nightmare that all go through. I can't imagine what this couple went through, although the author did a great job of describing incidents and checking his references. There are many who say this never happened- yet there are many who still suffer today. It is a harrowing experience that I have never experienced except through the words of survivors. I have met many and even though they tell you their story, you cannot imagine what it was like in their experience.
"Lizzi & Fredl: A Perilous Journey of Love and Faith: A Memoir" by Dr. William B. Stanford is a must-read. As a psychologist I look at the resulting mental damage; these people will never be the same again. Can it happen to us? Is there life after their soul deaths?
Lizzi & Fredl: A Perilous Journey of Love and Faith
by Dr. William B. Stanford
Published by iUniverse, Inc.
Click on book
cover to order
Reviewed By Michele E. Davis
There are movies and books, plus family oral history of what the Nazi SS did to the Jews, homosexuals, handicapped, mentally challenged, and Polish Roman Catholics. But the Nazi's weren't the only persecutors. Lizzi and Fredl were Austrian and Roman Catholic. Lizzi a well-respected dressmaker, and Fredl a master of fine jewelry.
In August of 1938, The Republic of Germany demanded that Fredl present himself in Munich within three days, and his new position required him to work at an aviation factory designing delicate timing devices for Hitler's bombs. He was appalled to think he would have to work for the madman, and the couple decided to head to France. Along with them went Fredl's two brothers, Ernstl and Fritz, plus their wives Elise and Betty. But France wasn't as idyllic as one would think. The war was looming towards that small country and, unfortunately, the French began to treat foreigners with disdain and distrust. It wasn't long before Fredl is separated from his wife and forced into a detention camp, which is the first in a series of ever deteriorating and humiliating places that he finds himself in.
In 1950 Lizzi, Fredl and their young son immigrated to the U.S. As Bill grew older he occasionally mentioned their war experiences but his parents weren't talking about them. During the late 1990s Fredl, in his 80s, finally agreed to tell his story, and Lizzi also gradually flowed open with her tragic tales. This communion of stories brought Bill's parents closer together, as they would often say after they told their son a story, "You didn't tell me about that incident." In their old age, they grew closer via the storytelling of their horrific experiences in WWII. Sadly, the author's parents died in 2001 and 2004 respectively. But their memories will live on in this ode of love to them from their son.
Go out and buy this book. It is an excellent read, and just as the front cover says, "A perilous journey of love and faith."
Armchair Interviews agrees.
Author's Web site: http://www.DrWilliamBStanford.com