Hans Berger, a World War II survivor and author, will talk about his personal experiences escaping from the Nazis at a free presentation on June 7 at Covenant Village of Turlock.
Berger drew from his mother’s journals and his own memories to write his book, “A Bridge to Cross: The True Story of One Family’s Flight from the Nazis.” The following is an excerpt from his book:
“In the spring of 1944, Hitler’s storm troops and allied forces attacked all of Germany and forced his radical policies on the citizens. Heidelberg was not exempt. The once peaceful city, the romantic section of town, its castle towering above as the guardian of the city, became a place of tyranny, murder and fear.
I know this to be true.
My name is Hans-Günter Berger, and I was there.
My sisters and I, born to a father forced into service and a mother whose disdain and open defiance to Hitler could not be ignored, became a target of the ruthless Gestapo ordered to break our bones.
While our father kept up the facade of compliance, our mother had no choice but to take her four children and flee romantic Heidelberg in the dark of night. As we arrived in former East Prussia, the childhood home of my mother, we were nearly crushed by the iron jaw of the Russian bear. Trapped behind enemy lines for more than a year, we felt the powerful paw bearing down on us from the far reaches of the Soviet Empire.
Unspeakable mayhem ensued as the Russian shock troops came across the Prussian border. I was only two years old, and my sisters five, seven, and the oldest nine when my mother, in order to flee Hitler’s demons, we found ourselves caught in the midst of one of the biggest and bloodiest tank battle of the war.”
During his presentation, he will discuss his childhood on the run from the Gestapo.
Space is limited for this free program and reservations are required. To register, visit www.covenantvillageofturlock.org/events or call 877-834-1238.
The program will start at 1 p.m. at Covenant Village, located at 2125 N. Olive Ave., in Turlock.