Reviewed by me for Reader’s Favorite.
The world war stories have always fascinated and terrified us; however, reading the first-hand experience of someone who unwillingly became a participant in one of the wars is an entirely different encounter. The father of the author, Elfriede Dustin, has been one such person who was forced to be a German soldier. Save Me Twice is a glimpse into those tough times with a few fictional twists. In a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable defeat, Hitler ordered all the boys from the age of 12 onwards to join the war. Although his order made no evident impact on Russian and American armies, it definitely tore many families apart. Karl’s family became one of those families. Karl and his brothers (Hans and Hermann) were forced to join German Army as dictated by their leader Hitler. Thus started a new and very disturbing chapter of Karl’s life that would remain etched in his memories for as long as he would breathe.
Karl’s memories of his time in World War II made me appreciate my comfortable life more than ever. A fanatic’s actions threw a country known for its art and culture into a sheer destruction and to what avail? Young boys, who were in no way prepared to handle weapons, were ordered to face an almost lost battle. These young boys had to witness the heart-wrenching sights of torture and shootings that even an adult couldn’t have digest. With their lives at stake, the regular scarcity of food became the least of their worries.
Save Me Twice, amidst all the chaos, manages to awaken the lost faith in humanity. While the majority of soldiers were busy robbing and raping, a few soldiers ensured that they do not forget to extend the hand of kindness whenever they can. When the survival became an issue, even then there were people who risked their own lives to help another unfortunate soul. However, Hitler’s monstrous acts kept surfacing to make me shiver with grief and terror. There were things that I had heard but reading about certain inhuman acts in black and white gave me goosebumps. The author has done complete justice with his father’s dire memories. I am appalled by a leader’s actions and touched by the pain and loss of innocent people. May the world never goes on the same track!