Six incredible true World War II stories told by the people who lived them
Many people who lived through World War II were unable to speak about what they experienced and witnessed, as the trauma was too great, or the memories too painful. But others, often later in their life, like the brave people featured in Never Forget, have found it cathartic to tell their stories, and preserve them for future generations. Here are the incredible people you will read about:
Bram, a young boy whose privileged childhood in the Dutch East Indies was lost forever when the Japanese invaded and his father became a prisoner-of-war on the infamous Pekanbaru Death Railway.
Harry, a soldier in the 2nd New Zealand Divisional Cavalry, who survived relentless action on the battlefields of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East with just one tiny nick to his ear, but whose emotional wounds would prove far greater to heal.
Eva, a young girl in Rotterdam, who witnessed many atrocities under the German occupation of the city, and discovered after the war, she had inadvertently delivered messages for the Resistance.
The six Węgrzyn children, who were ripped from their happy life in Poland, endured the loss of their parents, and suffered terrible conditions and near starvation in forced labour camps in Russia.
Naylor, who was almost 100 years old before he told his family about his wartime service with one of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s top-secret RAF ‘Moonlight’ Squadrons, flying agents and supplies behind enemy lines.
And Ronnie, whose tough wartime childhood in the slums of Newcastle upon Tyne, led to him becoming part of a destructive street gang, and ultimately being sent to Australia as a child migrant.
I am so grateful to the amazing people featured in Never Forget for sharing their often harrowing wartime experiences and inspiring stories of courage and survival, and for providing many photographs from their private collections, which really bring the stories to life.
Praise for Never Forget
“I devoured it in one sitting. Such a wonderfully written collection of peoples’ experiences – it really got under the skin of each of them.”
Tony Wright, filmmaker and producer
“The stories in Jo’s book (and the lives of her subjects) have amazing plots, dramatic changes of fortune, crisis, conflict and resolution, accompanied by persistent threat – all the elements of great fiction. We meet sharply drawn characters, people like us, doing what they can to survive, with great modesty and great courage. Yet this isn’t fiction. These are real stories – lives documented – of people we might have known, who lived down the street or around the corner, and knew our parents or grandparents.”
Ian Latham, historian of the 2nd New Zealand Divisional Cavalry and founder of nzdivcav.org
Never Forget $25 plus postage and packaging
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