Former German POW Finds Peace in Texas
By Heino R. Erichsen, as told to Jean Nelson-Erichsen

Eakin Press, Austin, Texas. ISBN 1-57168-514-6

Reviewed for Keeping APAce by Byron D. Varner.

This book is an enlightening view of an Axis “enemy” in WW 2. But not at all like the fearsome German soldier propagandized by Adolph Hitler, U.S. movies and documentaries, nor by our own Armed Services during that war. It is also a classic view of what the German people experienced through that long war.

As for the soldier, you see the human side of a German boy, raised in a middle class family, whose parents secretly opposed the war and Hitler's grand schemes. Frail as a lad, required to participate as a member of the Hitler Youth Program, and schooled for office work, Heino was inept as a soldier before he became a member of the Afrikan Korps under Field Marshall Rommel in February 1943. His story could easily have been the life of a similar American youth, except for location, culture, and circumstance of war.

For Heino Erichsen, that circumstance included being captured and shipped to the United States as a Prisoner of War. On reflection, it was perhaps a more fortunate fate for him than for some of his American counterparts interned as POWs in Germany - but not a good thing at best.

What he made of his life, despite the war, the onus of being a POW, and many other obstacles in his path, is a tribute to Erichsen's self discipline, work ethic, faith in his God, and a good wife - a combination manifest in his many good works worldwide since immigrating and becoming an American citizen.

I met Heino and Jean here in The Woodlands, TX, after reading a story about him in the local paper. The national headquarters for their world adoption agency is here. In an interview with him for a different purpose, I learned more about this book, and was so impressed with him, his wife, and his organization that I purchased The Reluctant Warrior for my own library. After reading it, I was even more impressed, and recommend it to you for the same reason. You will find it interesting, educational, and revealing.