(as of Dec 23,2020 11:45:13 UTC – Details)
Experience World War II Nazi prison camps through the eyes of a 20-year old boy from Kansas, and the miracle of faith that saved his life.
During Roy’s first month in Stalag Luft IV, a stranger joined him in his daily walk. At the end of their walk, he spoke four words to Roy, before he disappeared behind a building. Four words that changed Roy’s life.
Roy Shenkel survived a German rocket attack on April 7, 1944. He survived a Gestapo interrogation, arriving in the solitary confinement facility at Dulag Oberursel on D-Day, June 6, 1944. But would he survive the prisoner of war camps?
Roy had known hard times and hunger, being a child of the Great Depression. But he had never known the brutality and starvation he would experience in the German prison camps. He had already seen one prisoner shot dead by the guards, only a few days before the visitation from the stranger. He had never been as close to death as he now was, almost every day.
Experience what it was really like to be a German prisoner during World War II. At the same time, a story of finding faith, hope and strength in harsh conditions. The role that new-found faith played in Roy’s ability to defeat what were, in many cases, his own personal demons including his deep concerns for his mother at home. A faith-based parable of how the human spirit can conquer adversity. Something especially important in today’s challenging times.
While the above summarizes the primary content of this book, there are many other stories within these pages:
- Featured throughout are German railroads and the role they played in transport of prisoners of war. This includes the brutal seven-day box car trip from Stalag Luft IV to Stalag Luft I in the bitter winter of 44-45, and the forced marches from rail stations to prison camps.
- We scratch the surface of the mass evacuations of prison camps as the German held territory shrank, the Russians pressing forward from the east, and the Allies from the west. This includes the evacuation of Stalag Luft IV in January and February of 1945, and the mysterious midnight abandonment of Stalag Luft I on the last day of April, 1945.
- The stories of prison camp newspapers and radio receivers, using information from the BBC and other sources. The amazing techniques that were used to keep these assets hidden form the Germans. And the tremendous impact the available war news had on the morale of the prisoners,
These and so many other threads are woven through “A Gift of Hope” to build a larger tale beyond that of any one man.
For John Hornbeck, the author of this work, A Gift of Hope is more than a good story. John knew Roy for more than thirty years. He was Roy’s primary caregiver for the last two years of his life and listened to his stories every day. The sharpness of Roy’s memory was amazing, and John could tell that much of the pain was still inside of him. Upon Roy’s death, John felt that this was one of those stories that simply had to be told. Especially, the narrative of how Roy discovered faith in one of those prison camps. And the importance of that faith as the foundation of the hope and strength that would help him to survive.
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