In Different Worlds by Dankwart Koehler

 

NonfictionIn Different Worlds by Dankwart Koehler

In Different Worlds: From POW to PhDDankwart Koehler; Bridgeway Books 2010WorldCatReview is by Molly

Dankwart Koehler’s In Different Worlds from POW to PHD The Story of a Remarkable Life is a work of 326 pages comprising a Prologue, 2 Parts with Part 1 beginning in 1926 in Ebingen, Germany and including the writer’s Biography with early years in Heilbronn, Hitler becoming Chancellor of German, Koehler’s growing up, World War 11 and his time as a Prisoner of War. Part 2 details the beginning of Koehler’s second life, time as an exchange student in America, life in Germany and Atlanta, Georgia, Switzerland, Belgium, and New Jersey. Koehler discusses Bell Telephone Laboratories, Photography and retirement. Following the text is found 2 appendices as well as a Bibliography.

Writer Koehler notes in his prologue that while the book is written as the two stories of his life; it not meant to be a political work. Rather he hoped to provide documentary for his descendants to tell them of their roots in addition to describing some of the political circumstances under which he lived and how his long, 80+ year life have evolved from each experience.

Born in 1926 Koehler lived in southwestern Germany during the first 8 years of his life when the family moved to Heilbronn where his father became a teacher and government employee.

Despite the rise in power exerted by Hitler, Koehler’s growing up was quiet, not opulent, but the family did not suffer want, education, birthdays and holidays, food, vacations and summer camp, music and mathematics were all a part of the young Koehler’s life. And, there were Hitler Youth, antisemitism, and World War II.

Hardship, rationing of essential items including food, photography, air raids, and joining military service became a commonality of the time. Draft orders were sent in February 1943 for all high school students born in 1926 and 1927. June 1944 Koehler reported to his garrison assignment, combat and retreat soon followed, and in April, capture led to Koehler being taken to France first as an American POW before being turned over to the French as a POW. Koehler notes that the general population of Germany did not view the American troops as liberators, but rather as occupiers. October 1948, three and half years after the war had ended Koehler was finally on his way home.

The second part of his book follows from the beginning of his second life. He becomes an exchange student in America where he attended Georgia Tech. Traveling back to Germany brought more education, beginning a career, marriage, and back to the US where he and his wife raised a family while Koehler continued working until retirement.

While I cannot say that reading In Different Worlds changed my opinions regarding the historical situations portrayed; I did find that reading In Different Worlds has bolstered my own understanding of the times and circumstances. I have long enjoyed historical fact and fiction and read a good bit of historical works.

Koehler discusses the injustices he and his family, and many others of German descent suffered due to the circumstances of the war without rancor or maudlin worries about what is fair and what is not. I find that type writing to be very compelling, state facts and let the chips fall was they will often leads readers toward understanding better and faster than pointing out life is not fair. It isn’t always, deal with it and continue forward.

I enjoyed reading Dankwart Koehler’s In Different Worlds from POW to PHD The Story of a Remarkable Life, he offers another glimpse at the situation and circumstance of living in Germany during the rise of Hitler to power, and the difficulties experienced by the populace before, during and following the war. Koehler’s life has indeed been remarkable, interesting, and noteworthy.

Challenges faced Koehler throughout his life, reading of his determination to not allow challenge to shape him as a person, but to serve as a motivating catalyst offers readers a principle worth remembering

Writer Koehler writes in a clear, readable style, He is not afraid to laugh at himself, to explain how and why he has embarked on first one venture and then another and to express thoughts and beliefs regarding a great many ideas, ideology or situation.

Reading of the Koehler family’s struggles is put into perspective by Koehler also listing the successes and there were many to to help the reader understand the possibility ahead for everyone when we continue to trust that success is possible and to then work toward those successes to be achieved.

Dankwart Koehler’s In Different Worlds from POW to PHD The Story of a Remarkable Life has a place in public and school libraries as well as on the book shelf of those students of history who continue to find history remarkable and intriguing.

KoehlersIn Different Worlds demonstrates that few of us are so singular that regardless of area where we live, or cultural differences we do have others with whom we will relate in times of joy and in times of sorrow. Worrying about the past serves little, live in the present, realize the past, do not repeat old mistakes, move forward; are all good things to remember.

Many of the books I receive for review are donated to charity, Dankwart Koehler’s In Different Worlds from POW to PHD The Story of a Remarkable Life is a keeper.

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