‘Odyssey: The Life and Times of a German Boy'

| 30 Sep 2011 | 08:38

Goshen resident Helmut Voellmann’s story of his family’s flight from the Russian Army in 1945 GOSHEN — For 13-year-old Helmut Voellmann, who grew up in East Prussia, Germany, the final weeks of World War II were fraught with terror and privation. With his mother and six of his brothers and sisters, the family fled home by foot in the dead of winter. They were heading northwest toward the Baltic Sea 250 miles away to escape the Russian soldiers, who were killing German civilians in their path as they made their way toward Berlin. Meanwhile, Helmut and his brother Siegfried had to escape their own German army officers, who wanted to put guns in their young hands to fight off the Russians to the east and the approaching Allies in the west. Escape to Denmark was the family’s only hope. And, that’s just the beginning of the tale of a young man who grew up in a world of bloodshed, refugee camps and shattered lives but who would eventually rebuild a life for himself in America. Now 78 and a Goshen resident, Voellmann tells his story of a life in his autobiographical account, “Odyssey: The Life and Times of a German Boy.” The book is a historical perspective on the plight of German families during and after World War II that Americans rarely hear about. The book was edited by former Times Herald-Record columnist Beth Quinn of Goshen and published by Royal Fireworks Press of Unionville. Voellmann will be signing books at Linda’s Office Supply, 22 West Main St., Goshen, on Saturday, Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. He will also appear at a book signing at the Goshen Senior Center, 100 Trotter Circle, on Monday, Nov. 29 from 12 to 3 p.m. Books are $14. For more information or to obtain a signed copy, call Voellmann at 294-3931.