About The Enchanted Suitcase: A Window Onto My German Father’s World War II Life:
Unexpectedly finding her German father’s World War II memoirs in an old suitcase transports author Helga Warren to romantic Paris in wartime, surrender from inside a German bunker on the beaches of Normandy, behind the barbed wire of a prisoner of war camp in Aliceville, Alabama and on to the start of a new life in America.
The author discovers a man full of enthusiasm and the fervor of
youth—and a marvelous writer—revealing unseen sides of the father she thought she knew. A whole new world opens up, all because of a sheaf of tattered papers in the bottom of what can only be called an enchanted suitcase.
One of the few eyewitness accounts of the little-known history of German prisoners of war in America during World War II, Karlheinz Stoess’s story gives us a glimpse into the life of what was known as a Scheuerfrau or “scrubwoman” of the Wehrmacht—an ordinary German soldier at the crossroads of history.
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Helga Warren is a Washington, DC tour guide specializing in German and French tours of the city, and a former public school German Immersion teacher. She lives in the Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital with her husband. The daughter of two German parents, she grew up in a German-speaking household and had the good fortune of spending her teenage years in Paris, which led to a lifelong involvement with languages. Her grandchildren are the light of her life. She would never have written a book if it weren’t for that old suitcase.