[Review] Escape From Plauen-A True Story by Renate Stoever

Title: Escape From Plauen-A True Story
Author: Renate Stoever
Publisher: iBooks March 1, 2014
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596879812
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir, World War II, Germany,
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 374
Rating: 5 Stars for Excellent.
Source: Free copy from Renate Stoever, iBooks, and Agile Impact, in exchange for a review.

Plauen after the devastation of Allied bombing. 

Plauen is a city in Saxony, Germany. When World War II began, the chief manufacture is embroidery. The capital city of Saxony, is Dresden. Plauen is located in eastern Germany, near the border of Czech Republic.
Renate, and her younger sister Margit, and parents, lived in the center of the city of Plauen.
Renate's grandparents had a small house with a garden seven miles from Plauen.
When Germany began the war by invading Poland, Renate was three.
Her sister Margit was born in 1940.
Their father was drafted into the Germany army in 1941.
The bombings began in 1944, and for a while Plauen was undisturbed. But eventually the planes descended over Plauen and dropped their heavy bombs.
"The thunder of low-flying, heavily loaded planes was already over us, vibrating the ceiling and walls around us. Fear of what was to come constricted my throat. When the explosions started, I thought the house was collapsing around us, for everything shook." Page 25.
The first part of Escape to Plauen is the beginnings of the war and how it affected with graduating crescendo Renate and her family. The bombings, fire storms, and aftermath, is the most graphic depiction of war from a civilian I've read. Renate describes both from a child's perspective, and her perspective as an adult.
The next section of the book is life under the oppression of the Soviet Union.
The last half of the book is Renate's adult life, work history, marriage and family, travels.
Renate and younger sister Margit. 
My Thoughts:
Renate has written a biography of her life from her earliest memory through to present. I believe she wrote her bio of later adult years, to reflect on and to express how the war has affected her. The war and bombings have permanently weaved a thread into her life. Renate is a survivor, but not without its trauma. Renate did not allow her past to hold back talents and abilities, nor in creating a home and family. The turbulent years during the war and the Soviet occupation, formed her into a stoic and resilient woman.
The harrowing and realistic descriptions of the Allied bombings over Plauen, is the most vividly written portrayal I've read. I kept thinking, she was just a young girl, so innocent of government decisions, and yet paid a price for them.
To say war is a horrible thing, is to not do it justice. Only a person who has experienced war understands.

YouTube of bombings in Germany by Allied Forces, 48:23 minutes. The town of Plauen is mentioned in the last few minutes of this video. Interviews both the bombers and those who were bombed.

Fred and Renate Stoever
Link for website of Escape from Plauen. 
For a full biography of the author: Renate Stoever. 

Renate was born in the German city of Plauen before the start of the Second World War. Enduring the daily hardships of the War, Renate and her family escaped to the West from Communist East Germany in 1947. Within a week of her 1953 arrival in the United States, Renate started to work in a small shop sewing beads on   moccasins. A year later she used her artistic ability to become a top designer in the Lace and Embroidery industry.

Renate married in 1962, and helped her husband establish a successful Wall Street firm. After winning a writing competition in the New Yorker Staats Zeitung, a German-American weekly newspaper, friends encouraged her  to spend more time writing.  

Renate and her husband live in New Jersey.

Kindle Price $9.97: Escape From Plauen


  1. Wow, this sounds fantastic! Thanks for introducing me to this book,


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