The Prison Called Hohenasperg: An American Boy Betrayed by His Government During World War II
Universal Publishers, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 162 pages
Unknown to most Americans, more than 10,000 Germans & German Americans were interned in the United States during WWII. This story is about the internment of a young American & his family. He was born in the U.S.A. & the story tells of his perilous path from his home in Brooklyn to internment at Ellis Island, N.Y. & Crystal City, Texas, & imprisonment, after the war, at a place in Germany called Hohenasperg. When he arrived in Germany in the dead of winter, he was transported to Hohenasperg in a frigid, stench-filled, locked, & heavily guarded, boxcar. Once in Hohenasperg, he was separated from his family & put in a prison cell. He was only twelve years old! He was treated like a Nazi by the U.S. Army guards & was told that if he didn't behave he would be killed. He tried to tell them he was an American, but they just told him to shut up. His fellow inmates included high-ranking officers of the Third Reich who were being held for interrogation & denazification. The book tells how the author survived this ordeal & many others, & how he fought his way back to his beloved America.
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A truly inspiring American,(human) story, as well as a deeply moving look at both the good and bad on both sides of the fence. The relationships/characters from start to finish were each worthy of there own book... from the father's dear friend who was American-Jewish, to the boy's German grandfather Opa, you loved them all... His mother & father, the GI's in Germany who friended him, and those who helped him return to the States were also truly inspiring... even the Boss & his wife were unforgettable. The German sailors,(the one who became mentally ill still tugs at me), on Ellis island, as well as the Japanese friend also pulled at my heart-strings. Very EZ read, simple & yet at 40+ I did not feel it lacked in any way. I instantly wanted to meet the author & shake his hand, if he's not alive I will make sure to wave a white scarf to say good-bye as did the women in the story, when saying good-bye. I feel like someone helped ease the pain of growing up being one of the so-called blue eyed devils,( I myself being Irish, Norwegian & German & American which added the slave/American Indian stigma ). Finally someone spoke up for the majority of children that are voiceless... and reminded them that the people of Germany were at the hands of a madman, and not some sort of evil empire. I bought this awhile back, and then set it aside... I finally read it due to my daughter who is 14 needing a story to write an essay... I don't vote anymore however it saddened me to think of republicans going against Arthur when he tried to be heard... but then again, it makes this man's story even more American as what is America without those such as Jacobs being so true to it, even when those in charge are not. If I could I would salute Mr. Jacobs & the others around the world who suffered at the hands of their government. p.s. Like my own father, who told me of these same things, and how speaking German was outlawed, etc, Jacobs was a US Air force men, and retired after serving a lifetime in this country. Hats off to those who helped this story to stay present... I saw a Jewish website that had the records of Jacobs supreme court ordeal,(I appreciate them for keeping record). Swept under the carpet, but not overlooked. Worthy of its salt & $, would & will buy again. Robin~