It was April, 1945. Jerry Ansul, an 18-year old soldier with General George Patton’s Third Army, Fourth Armored Division sees a sight that he has never forgotten–and for many decades could not and would not even talk about–at the Ohrdruf Concentration Camp near Erfurt, Germany. This article really touched me, reminding me of what I experienced with my own husband.

Max was 68 when I married him. He had never mentioned anything of his WWII experiences. I knew some things about his present life but very little about the past, and I didn’t probe. After our honeymoon trip to Europe at the end of 1991, the first time he had traveled to Europe in about 44 years, memories started flooding back especially in the form of nightmares. Sometimes he’d wake me up screaming. I shared with him that I often wrote about things when they bothered me and suggested he might give that a try. He did. And he wrote and wrote and wrote, legal pad after legal pad, in his mother language, French. Memories came back to him that he had suppressed for decades. After some years, the idea came to me to compile his writings, translate them and write a book.

Like Jerry Ansul, we find it especially rewarding to speak at high schools, and to talk with teens and college students. It is crucial they know what happened during the second world war. And there is nothing like a first-hand account. They need to grasp that one person can make a difference, and that history often repeats itself–that we must be vigilant to retain our freedom and maintain liberty for all. 

In fact, we just met a young man in his teens at our book signing in Roseville, CA on Saturday. He was a fine young man who wanted to meet Max. He listened attentively as Max shared stories with him. Several times, he expressed his gratefulness for what Max had done. He really impressed us by his grasp of the importance of their meeting. I don’t think any of us will ever forget this moment in time. 

The article goes on to quote one high school student who says…“we’re the last generation to hear from these people.” And how right this student is.


  1. Phyl Smith says

    I love reading your blogs Linda-thank you for keeping Max’s memories alive. I met you and Max at a book signing at Borders, Reno around last Christmas. I was humbled, to say the least.

    I know you and Max have met many people since you published your book…just think of the thousands of people that will remember you and Max and his story!

    Lest we forget.

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