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Hansi: The Girl Who Loved the Swastika

by Maria Anne Hirschmann

Raised by a Christian foster mother who loved her and a foster father who saw her as just another mouth to feed at a time when food was scarce, Maria grabbed the chance to go to Prague and get Hitler's promised education. Not only did she excel in every way, but also she felt loved and accepted. It was here that Hansi was born. Hansi became a successful leader in Hitler's Youth. She escaped Prague before it fell, but landed in a labor camp where women were overworked, starved, and raped by Russian soldiers and the overseer. She could not take the brutality and resolved to escape, or die trying. Her journey was hard but she made it to West Germany, where American soldiers and The Red Cross helped her. Repeated encounters of goodness reawakened her faith. Coming to America immersed her in a new kind of hardship, but she learned English, became a schoolteacher, and grew in Christian faith. She became an American citizen and helped others appreciate Americans' freedom. Hirschmann's autobiography is frank, instructive, inspirational, and beautifully written.

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