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E is for Eating Cold War Style Behind the Iron Curtain #AtoZ Challenge

Coming at you all April long, my A to Z Blog Challenge theme is “Historical Treasure”

Image from The Winnipeg Jewish Review

Borscht Image from The Winnipeg Jewish Review

Who doesn’t like the occasional food blog? Living overseas, I’ve gotten to indulge in so many good eats that I ran a foodie series in February. Irene was the inspiration for one of those posts. We got to talking once, and I have no idea how it came up, but she told me her doctor said she had the bone density of a woman half her age. What was her secret? Nettles. She practically had to live on them for a while.

Remember in Forest Gump when they start talking about the many dishes you can make with shrimp? Well, nettles aren’t exactly the same, but when she talks of them it reminds me of that movie. There is nettle tea, nettle soup, nettle mash and so on. If you could make it with nettles, Irene and her mother did. If you’re interested, check out that food post here.

When opportunities came in post-war Germany to eat other foods, you can bet Irene hopped to. These everyday details of life behind the Iron Curtain populate her writing. How many times did her family members risk their lives for the simple things–like a big of bread? Irene’s story isn’t her own, it is the story of so many others. Here’s a slice of it from the summer of 1945, shortly after the war ended and Irene’s family discovered they would be in the Russian sector. [Edited for length]

Since we were so hungry, we said among ourselves, “Russia is closer. They can bring in supplies much faster than the Americans. The Russian zone will do all right.” We had been told for years that Russian farmers had fertile land and worked as hard as the German farmers….No one told us then that the Russians were starving. They were not able to feed themselves. They did not send us food, rather they took what little we had.

Stalin with Soviet Flag

Stalin with Soviet Flag

When Stalin heard that so many people in Germany wanted democracy instead of communism he said, “What, they don’t want to be communists?” He laughed, “We’ll starve them and they will come crawling to us!”

….There were some who had food enough, mainly the farmers and the Russians who came to govern us. The Russians assigned to our village stayed in a villa up in the woods. A large red star on their roof was lit by spotlights during the night. They had their own parties, drinking vodka in large amounts, and playing their music as loud as possible.

….One night, after curfew, Nadja and I slipped through the darkness up to the Russian villa. We were very hungry and thought this might be a place to get some food. We stayed int he shadows of a picket fence and some bushes where the searchlights would not fall on us. Our hunger was greater than our fear of what the consequences would be if we were caught.

Several soldiers were cooking in a large pot out in the open. We could smell the meat. “Borscht” Nadja whispered. When they dumped a lot of vegetables into the pot my stomach cramped with hunger.

….[Later] We heard the men fighting over one of the [abducted] women. It must have been another hour before we were sure the men were sound asleep.

“Now!” Nadja whispered as she climbed out of the bushes and over the fence into the garden. I followed. Slowly, quietly, we crept toward the house. The kettle outside still had some warm borscht in it.

We poured it into a pitcher we had brought, then crept into their kitchen. We took some pieces of commisbread. I saw a box I could carry and took it, not daring to risk the noise of opening it.

A man cursed and we knew a soldier was awake. We held our breath in fear…

[Excerpt from…My Years Hidden As a Boy by Irene Kucholick]

Perfect to end there since tomorrow is F is for Fear.

Till then…a shout out to some very diverse AtoZers:

Regina Martins integrates juxtaposed images under one letter theme.

Get in early on a co-written space opera AtoZ.

Fun to see JazzFeather’s D is for Dixieland because there is a Louis Armstrong tie in to Irene’s life later. (Video will be forthcoming.)

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Kristin King is an NGO co-founder, author, publisher, mom, dog lover, reader, as well as a born and bred Kentuckian. She has a small bag of dried nettles in her tea tin, because Irene hand-picked that gift for her. Unfortunately, nettles is not her favorite flavor.

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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Food, Memoirs & History

 

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Tis the Season Reading: Romance on the Rise

Free on Amazon for Limited Time

Free on Amazon for Limited Time

If a search of my satellite tv options is to be believed, romance movies are more popular than family films for Christmas. And they aren’t all too high on cheese factor. What about books? Although not as heavily weighted, holiday romances make up a good portion of Amazon’s Top 100 Free titles right now.  So I wanted to feature one of those titles today, so you can get it while it’s hot.

Description:

Christmas represents everything Andi Williams is supposed to have, and doesn’t. Running away to a remote mountain lodge in the Canadian Rockies, sounds like the perfect way to escape, until a mix-up finds her sharing a villa with sexy, rough around the edges, Colin Hartford.

Colin’s determination to enjoy the holiday he’s missed for the last five years, sweeps Andi into a season of joy that she’s not sure she’s ready for. Can Andi open herself up to everything the holidays have to offer…including love?

The Overall rating of Unexpected Gifts is 4.5 STARS. Here are a few highlights from the reviews:

“I have become OBSESSED with Christmas early this year and this book was exactly what I wanted… a short, holiday read that put me even more in a festive mood.”

“This story is a delicious confection from start to finish, with a delightful pair of protagonists, and a wonderfully quirky cast of secondary characters. Add in one of the most spectacularly gorgeous settings – The Canadian Rockies in snowy winter – and the stage is set for a little bit of fairytale romance.”

“I would recommend this book to anyone who likes romance with intrigue This was very light reading and I enjoyed it immensely”

So grab Unexpected Gifts by Elena Aitken while it’s free.

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Also FREE this weekend: 3 years hidden as a boy? “Behind the Iron Curtain” reading http://amzn.to/IQClNv

Could this family secret be true? http://amzn.to/J7Pkeg

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Kristin King is an author and publisher. Her top sellers are “Unsinkable Vampire” and “Cain’s Coven,” and her latest novel the Begotten Bloods Series is Death Taint. Her imprint Three Kings Publishing can be found here. Three Kings is a Mom & Pop publisher of Christian writers (not necessarily Christian books).

 

 

 
 

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Tis the Season Reading : FREE Christmas “Behind the Iron Curtain”

"Behind the Iron Curtain: My Years Hidden as a Boy" FREE here Amazon till Sunday.

“Behind the Iron Curtain: My Years Hidden as a Boy” FREE here Amazon till Sunday.

Today I am featuring a Christmas excerpt from the memoirs of an amazing woman. It’s Christmas 1945 behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany where the Russian Communists rule and send every scrap back to Russia. Here’s what Irene lived:

Fall passed and winter came. If we had not looked at the calendar we would not have known it was Christmas 1945. We had a few sacks of potatoes and very little else to keep us going, but the people in the city did not even have that. They were starving badly. Typhoid fever reached the epidemic stage even though everyone in the city was vaccinated.

I began scouting further from home in the hope of finding more food. With few rations available and money worthless, it took large sums to buy food in the black market. One pound of butter cost 200 Reichsmark, equivalent to fifty 1946 U.S. dollars.

Born in the same year as Anne Frank (who gave us 2 years of WWII), Irene Kucholick’s Iron Curtain Memoirs cover the whole war (Book 1), her 3 years spent hidden as a boy (Book 2), and her final escape to freedom from East to West Berlin (Book 3).

FREE through Sunday on Amazon is Book 2 of this incredible historical treasure. Why is it free? Because Irene needs 10 REVIEWS of this title on Amazon in order to qualify for affordable advertising. Give her your gift here, a read and review. Read the whole set in Iron Curtain Memoirs, the 3-in-1 book. There you’ll find out what Christmas was like before and during WWII as well as all the other incredible events of Irene’s life.

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Before the Iron Curtain: My WWII Childhood

Behind the Iron Curtain: My Years Hidden As a Boy

Escape the Iron Curtain: My Journey to Freedom

Iron Curtain Memoirs (3-in-1 with photos, maps, and timeline not included elsewhere)

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Kristin King is an author and publisher. Her top sellers are “Unsinkable Vampire” and “Cain’s Coven,” and her latest novel the Begotten Bloods Series is Death Taint. Her imprint Three Kings Publishing can be found here. Three Kings is a Mom & Pop publisher of Christian writers (not necessarily Christian books).

Contact Kristin King for more information on Irene Kucholick’s books or to book an event.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Christmas, Freebies Alert, Story Bites

 

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WWII (Civilian) Memoirs

Soldier memoirs of World War II seem to abound, but I had trouble finding very many civilian accounts. Perhaps the survivors think they have nothing new to offer? They could not be further from the truth. My husband recently finished the Iron Curtain Memoirs and as a solider and military history buff he said,

“I even learned things I never knew before.”

So the features today are civilian accounts of the war.  The first is “In the Shadow of the Sun” and is the true story of a young family interned on Java during the Japanese occupation. Written by the daughter’s daughter, Ronny Herman Dejong, the book and the author’s blog about that time period will open eyes to parts of the war rarely viewed. I connected with Ronny through LinkedIn, but she welcomes readers and shares so much on her website: ronnyhermandejong.com

Ronny says:

I also want to share with you part of the Japanese War Crimes Files,the NARA Files, which became declassified in the year 2000 so you will understand what would have happened if the atomic bombs hadnot been dropped. In my 2011 World War II Memoir Rising from the Shadow of the Sun you will read all that as well as what happened after the war when I grew up and became who I am today.

Iron Curtain Book 1 and 2 covers

The Iron Curtain Memoirs is the historical treasure I discovered through a high school student.  Her grandmother is best friends with the writer who was raised in Germany under the rise of Hitler and through WWII.  One thing I say often is that Anne Frank gave us 2 years, but Irene Kucholick gives us the whole war and beyond.  Her memoirs are coming out in three books divided by historical periods and also as an all in one volume not yet released.  “Before the Iron Curtain: My WWII Childhood,”Behind the Iron Curtain: My Years Hidden as a Boy,” and “Iron Curtain Escape: My Journey to Freedom.” I think if you read one of them, you’ll want to read them all.  Another great aspect of the first book is that it is appropriate for ages 10 and up and gives younger readers a peek at the war through the eyes of a child. It would also make a terrific WWII Reader for Homeschool use.

If you know of other WWII civilian memoirs, please comment with the titles. I’m compiling a list and would like to add your favorites.

Kristin King is the author of two paranormal romances “Unsinkable Vampire” and “Cain’s Coven.” Her next novel releases October 2013 and you can join the Release Party for it and the final Iron Curtain installment on Facebook here.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in Book Reviews

 

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