Monday, October 12, 2009

Brings 'american life' into proper prospective. Deeply moving!

An essential read!! An absolutely vital companion read for The Diary of Anne Frank. Tannehill's masterfully written account provides mature readers a beautiful, yet `in your face' experience; sweeping them into time and place as if a permanent fly on the wall. The child Evelyne seems to be always within arm's reach and her life's struggle become a salient, disturbing reality for the reader. Her short lived joys and affections, as well as her suffering, fear, and anguish become those of the reader's. Personally, this book exponentially deepened my own understanding of the East Prussian history, and the devastating effects of the Russian conflict. It provided me knowledge of historical events that I realize now were sadly were absent even in my college History instruction. The reading of this autobiography has provided me as a bridge of knowledge concerning historical events that are seemingly too abandoned and forgotten; I am awed by Evelyne Tannehill's ability to humbly, yet powerfully, bring this part of the past to the surface for re-examination; a true literary gift. This book pulled me out of an ocean of ignorance and now I stand on a firm land of insight.

Friday, September 11, 2009

‘Abandoned and Forgotten,' one woman's tale

Summit Daily News Friday, September 4, 2009

Evelyne Tannehill's book depicts the other side of World War II — what German children went through
By Kimberly Nicoletti

Evelyne Tannehill never discussed her abusive past, growing up in Germany during World War II and losing her family. She tried, once, as a young wife who revealed a couple horrors of her past to her mother-in-law. The response: disbelief.

And so, she clammed up, until several years ago, when she returned to Germany when the Berlin Wall came down. As she sat on a bus with German tourists sharing experiences about growing up during Hitler's reign, she realized her story was unique: She had been caught under the abusive power of the Russians and Poles after the war ended and lost her parents in the process.

While her tale is unique in that it depicts the German side of the Holocaust, it's particularly powerful in its compassion. Though she suffered terrible atrocities as an orphan after the war, she writes from an evolved place — one void of hatred and resentment toward her oppressors. She admits experiences like hers leave scars, but she sees that the situation “tested everyone's capacity for good and evil … cruelty of war spares no one, and atrocities were committed on all sides (regarding the Russians and the Germans, not the Jews).”

Her father was born a U.S. citizen but moved to Germany when he married her mother. He opposed Hitler and was singled out as a conspirator and placed in a concentration camp. Later, he was released, only to be forced into a labor camp in Siberia when the Russians invaded Germany after the war. Within a year, Tannehill had lost her father to the labor camp and her mother to typhoid fever, because the region no longer had good sanitation, doctors or hospitals.

“The Russians appear and unleash uncontrolled violence on us, their first German victims,” Tannehill wrote. “They rape the women and torture the men.”

Tannehill became a “street urchin,” without schooling, for three years. She eventually ended up back at her family's farm, but her parents were gone, and an abusive Polish family had taken over not only her home, but also everything in it, down to the dishes and medicine in the cabinets.

The 431-page book portrays her life, starting at about age 5 and ending a few days before her 16th birthday, as she is on her way to North America.

Still, Tannehill describes the true story as not one solely about her, but one about “a family and how we navigated these troubled waters — the war, the loss of the war, the invasion of the Russians.” But she adds, “You learn what happens when a child loses the protective web of her parents.” The four sections of her book describe life under Hitler, the Russian invasion, the Polish takeover and how Germany rebuilt itself.

Tannehill has talked to almost 100 book clubs and churches since the release of her book.

“The reaction I usually get is, ‘We didn't know all these things happened. We just thought in 1945 the war was over and it was business as usual,'” she said. “But even after 1945, it was years before the Germans could rebuild their lives. There were no jobs and there were food shortages into the 1950s.”

She's even had two Jewish women contact her, one to say the book caused her to reevaluate her entire attitude toward German people, and another to say she never thought of any Germans suffering — she thought of them as getting what they deserved — until she read Tannehill's account.

It took Tannehill six years to write her story and another four years to let it “sit.” For the first three years, no one knew she was writing a book — not even her family. But through the process, she persevered.

“It is my belief that history is best told by those who lived it,” she said. “I had a very important story to tell, especially for the American reader because it's a slice of history that very little is known … it's a story of war. This story could happen anywhere, any time. Even today, it is happening.”

Friday, September 4, 2009

Summit Daily News, Friday, September 4, 2009

‘Abandoned and Forgotten,' one woman's tale
Evelyne Tannehill's book depicts the other side of World War II — what German children went through By Kimberly Nicoletti

Evelyne Tannehill never discussed her abusive past, growing up in Germany during World War II and losing her family. She tried, once, as a young wife who revealed a couple horrors of her past to her mother-in-law. The response: disbelief.

And so, she clammed up, until several years ago, when she returned to Germany when the Berlin Wall came down. As she sat on a bus with German tourists sharing experiences about growing up during Hitler's reign, she realized her story was unique: She had been caught under the abusive power of the Russians and Poles after the war ended and lost her parents in the process.

More to come!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

From Lavonne

Your book was both devastating and poignant. I was not aware of the plight of the Germans during and after the war. It gave me a completely different lens from which to view the happenings of that terrible experience. I have since shared the book with a friend of mine who belongs to a book club. She read the book is just a few days and told me she was unable to sleep and read well into the dawn until she had finished it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Poignant Story

This poignant story of tragedy and survival demonstrates that in war the innocent suffer also. An authentic and gripping reading.In today's world we must learn from the past that war is not the answer to resolving problems.

Evelyne's book announces the exciting debut of a new author.

Dr. Lawrence Janus, M.D.

Friday, May 8, 2009


I have spoken to over 80 book clubs about my book; ABANDONED AND FORGOTTEN – An orphan Girl’s tale of survival during World War II. These meetings and interviews have been rewarding both for me and the members of the clubs.
This human interest story is geared to those who do not know of the suffering of innocent German people. Not only readers with German heritage but also the next generation of those who experienced World War II or any war in any part of the world will gain much from the experiences detailed in my true story. The book has a lighter vision that could only be presented through the eyes of a resourceful little blond girl, and is appropriate for readers of all ages. When your club reads my book I will be happy to talk with them either through a phone interview or in person. For a list of book club questions and other information, see:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

From another reader

Not many books get into my head like this one did. This is the true story of a nine year old girl who lost both of her parents and was separated from her siblings during WWII. Even though it was a very tragic experience, the writer does not try to sensationalize it. Mrs. Tannehill is an exceptionally talented writer. It is a hard book to finish, you feel like you have lived the experience with her and want to know more. I hope she writes another book about her life after she was reunited with her brothers and sister in America. It would be a shame if this was her only book

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Expulsion -- "not a humane procedure"

My story covers a little known slice of history. I am referring to the ruthless expulsion of all Germans from the country's lost territories after the war. It was not a humane procedure. But then what was humane about that terrible war, or any war. Few people knew how the German populace struggled for survival long after the war was over. Nobody realized outside of Germany how long it took the German people to put their lives back together. And as my Aunt Elsbeth said, we East Prussians lived in the wrong part of Germany and paid more dearly for the war. But that is the fallout of war, the innocent pay for their power hungry, and all too often evil leaders' mistakes and ambitions, especially the children.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Evelyne Presents at “The Forum”

Evelyne set a record in numbers of people attending “The Forum” in Green Valley, Arizona, February 25, 2009.
With a backdrop of slides depicting significant events in her life and those skillfully written from the heart in her book, Abandoned and Forgotten, Evelyne held the crowd spellbound recounting her childhood in wartime Germany and Poland. Many eyes welled up as she recounted a young girls’ self-preservation in a country where law and order had broken down.
Without whining, self pity, or why me Evelyne took the audience on a journey they will never forget. Many were touched by her honesty, compassion, and hopeful spirit.
Following the presentation, Evelyne spend time signing copies of her book and further sharing with those in attendance.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Alexander Solzehenitsyn on his experence in East Prussa

“I remember myself in my captain’s shoulder straps and the forward march of my battery through East Prussia, enshrouded in fire, and I say: “so were we any better?” In one poem “Prussian Nights”, he wrote:

The little daughters on the mattress,

Dead. How many have been on it?

A platoon, a company perhaps?

A girl’s been turned into a woman,

A woman turned into a corpse.

Alexander Solzehenitsyn

Monday, April 27, 2009

Abandoned and Forgotten on HUNGAR

Author Ellie Wiesel

In his book Night after his father finally died: “I did not weep, and it pained me that I could not weep. But I was out of tears. And deep inside me, if I could have searched the recesses of my feeble conscience, I might have found something like: Free at last! And in spite of myself, a prayer formed inside me, a prayer to this God in whom I no longer believed.”

Friday, April 24, 2009



Believe me, Ben, it is a dangerous trade

The sword has many marred as well as made

By it many do fall – not many rise

Makes many poor, few rich and fewer wise

Fill towns with ruin, fields with blood decide

Tis sloth’s maintainer and the shield of pride

Fair cities rich today in plenty flow

War filled with want tomorrow and with woe

Ruined estates, the nurse of vice

Broken limbs and scars

Are the effects of desolating wars

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Terrible Revenge

In his book A Terrible Revenge

“The disaster that befell this area (East Prussia) with the entry of the Soviet forces has no parallel in modern European experience. There were considerable sections of it where, to judge by all existing evidence, scarcely a man, woman or child of the indigenous population was left alive after the initial passage of Soviet forces and one cannot believe that they all succeeded in fleeing to the West. The Russian swept the native population clean in a manner that had no parallel since the days of the Asiatic hordes.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

From a new reader

I just finished reading your book and it is one I won't forget. I cannot say enough about how much the book touched me. I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet you at the Literacy fair in Tucson. Your writing is so skillful and from your heart that I feel I know you. Sorry, when I read a book that moves me this much, I have a hard time letting go. Luckily, I live in Wyoming, so I won't knocking at your door. Thanks again for sharing so much of yourself.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Evelyne interviewed on "Americas Fabric"

Evelyne is interviewed by John McElroy on his Tucson radio program; Americas Fabric. Listen:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Abandoned and Forgotten readers questions for discussion.

Questions for discussion:

1. What do you remember from the WW II years? If you were not yet alive or were too young to remember those years, what do you recall that you were told about that time?

2. How did fairy tales affect your life?

3. As you think back on your own childhood, what is your first real memory? Are you able to separate what you remember from what your parents or others told you about your childhood? Why do you suppose that the author’s memories so vivid in their details?

4. What adjectives would you use to describe the author?

5. What parts of the story do you find most difficult to imagine and why?

6. Why and how do you think it was possible for Hitler control the German people so completely?

7. What insights about the German people did you gain from reading this book?

8. How do you suppose that this story might have been different if the author’s brother Henry had written it?

9. Why do you feel this family drifted apart?

10. How is it possible for one human being to treat another so cruelly, as evidenced in the book? Is hate learned?

11. How did the author’s view of her family change over the course of the story and why?

12. What insights for your own life did you take away from reading this book?

Friday, April 17, 2009

"The Book" by Douglas Brough

Abandoned and Forgotten: Reviewed by Douglas Brough,, UK press

“One spends a lifetime waiting for ‘the book’ and then along comes a story so full of personal emotion and courageous honesty that it becomes a privilege to read. This, is that book. It took courage to address her past and open her life to public scrutiny and write of her life as an orphan of the Second World War. I offer a debt of gratitude for the privilege of reviewing her story; a story that I hope goes some way towards reconciliation between former enemies; a story so full of emotion that as she finally left her childhood roots after her visit, she decided was a chapter in her life that needed closing.

And then, Evelyne wrote the book, and the rest, as they say, is history………”

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Wolf children (German: Wolfskinder) was the name given to a group of orphaned German children at the end of World War II in East Prussia. The story of one survivor can be read in “ABANDONED AND FORGOTTEN: An Orphan Girl's Tale of Survival in World War II by Evelyne Tannehill”

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Where in the world is HRASTOVAC??

From: "Rosina Schmidt"
Subject: [BANAT-L] Book "Abandoned and Forgotten" by Evelyne Tannehill

Hello Donauschwaben;

Evelyne Tannehill's book "Abandoned and Forgotten, An Orphan Girl's Tale of Survival During World War II' deals with many of those questions we have been discussing in the recent weeks. It is the best book written in English I have read so far on that topic and I warmly recommend it to anyone curious enough to have an insider 'window opening' into that part of history.

The first part of the setting was in East Prussia, but it could have been anywhere in the DS lands.

ISBN-13: 978-1-58736-693-2 published in 2006. Hopefully most of the libraries have it.


From the Danube Swabian village of HRASTOVAC, also known under its German name of EICHENDORF

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Readers Response

Dearest Dearest Evelyne,

I just finished reading your book. I took my time in reading every word that you had so beautifully written and so painfully remembered in order to make this masterpiece. Your book is so powerful and very very moving.

I have visited Germany and Poland and stood before some of the buildings that are scarred from the war and wondered with a heavy heart how the people in that area survived from day to day. The immense fear, the horrific losses, and the feeling of helplessness one must have felt. I shudder to think that you had to endure so much pain in your life as a little girl growing up in that terrible time. Not knowing if you or yours would see the light of day without the hunger pains, and the daily intrusions from the Russian soldiers as they entered your domain that was to keep you safe.

As I read the book, I cried with you, and for you. I prayed as I read that you would never ever have to endure such pain again in any lifetime. Through your wonderful writing, I was enabled to experience your every waking thought, the searing heartache that you felt. Even the stinging from your tears on my own cheeks.

As I read the final page, closed the book, and held it in my hands, the tears just started falling again.

I felt your sadness, I felt your happiness, and I felt your successes. There is not a day that has gone by since meeting you that I have not thought about you. I pray for you every night that your pain will ease and that you may never have to want for anything ever again.

With the warmest regards and best wishes,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Abberation Nation Interview

Please see my recent interview with Aberration nation. I think you will like it or at least learn a bit about my story. For example:

So many of us choose to focus on the negatives in our lives although there are positives all around us. As a child, you were stripped of the freedom, love, and security many of us take for granted. Can you give us an idea of what your childhood was like, and why it was unique?

My childhood ended when within a period of six months I lost all that constituted my secure world. I lost my father, mother, sister, two bothers, two dear aunts, my physical home, my cat, my dog, and my precious doll which I had just received for my 9th birthday. Even my native language was taken away from me - I had to learn Polish to survive. This occurred the beginning of 1945 when Germany was losing WWII and the Russian Red Army was fighting its way toward victory in Berlin.

Even growing up as a young girl during war time in Germany (while my family was still intact), my childhood certainly wasn't normal as compared to growing up in the US, for example. But it appeared normal to me. Watching the fathers, older brothers, and uncles of all my friends being put into uniform and sent off to the various fronts seemed normal. Even their not returning, or returning with an arm, a leg, or an eye missing, seemed normal at the time. What bothered me most was that my father, the foreigner, (as our neighbors referred to him) was an aberration. (He was a naturalized American citizen.) Upon reflection, I realize that as children we very much wanted to belong, even in the negative sense.

Have a look: