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A Journey on My Own: A Youth from Hitler's Germany Strives to Claim His American Identity

98 pages2 hours


A Journey on My Own tells the story of Eric Vieler, born in America but raised in Hitler's Germany, where he saw the persecution of Jewish neighbors and experienced the bombing of cities. After being expelled from a Nazi-run academy, he crossed battle lines to reach his home. On Easter 1945, he encountered American troops, became their interpreter, and witnessed fierce fighting. He joined British occupation forces, doing a variety of jobs for food as compensation. Vieler's quest for his American identity was fulfilled when he was repatriated to America at age fifteen, but thoughts of independence were thwarted when, due to his age, he was required to attend public school. Although he held after-school jobs, his primary support was through a New York City welfare agency. In 1950, Vieler enlisted in the Army, was commissioned at age nineteen, and went on to serve in Korea, where he was seriously wounded and twice decorated for valor.

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