Karl Veth is 14 years old and as mandated by German law, a member of Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth). He is the assistant to the leader of a KLV camp in Poland – an air raid evacuation camp where 120 German boys under the age of 12 were sent to protect them from the bombings in Berlin. As the Russian army advances and breaks through the German defense lines, Karl is put in command of safely transporting the boys from Poland back to their families in Berlin. He must, however, do this without any help from headquarters.
Once back in Berlin, Karl receives new orders. Having spent a great deal of time exploring the subway tunnels of Berlin when he was younger, Karl has unique knowledge of the subway system. Upon learning that he is a “subway rat”, the SS takes advantage of Karl’s knowledge and orders him to act as a guide for SS demolition commandos in the tunnels.
While the Russians move closer and the fall of Berlin is imminent, Karl is in the midst of the destruction of the city where he was born. Every day he sees and smells death on the streets and as he does so, his loyalty begins to waver.
Hungry, scared, and disillusioned with the war, Karl must constantly rely on his wits simply to stay alive. As a member of the Hitler Youth he is expected to fight like a soldier, however, he reaches a point where he must make a critical decision – live or die.
Targeted Age Group:
18 and Up
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Writing a book takes time and you should give yourself all the time you need to tell a good story. Put aside a few hours a day for writing, but don’t feel like you have to push yourself to get a certain amount finished all at once. And it’s always a good idea to carry a small voice recorder with you so that when you’re out and about and an idea pops into your head, you can record it.
Horst Christian was born in Berlin, Germany in 1930. His father, a mathematician and a banker, taught him to read and write before the age of 5. He discovered his love for writing by the time he was 10 years old and wrote vacation reports and several articles for the German school periodical “Hilf Mit.”
Drafted to help defend Berlin against the Soviets at the age of 14 because of his unique knowledge of the subway system, he served as a guide for various SS demolition commandos.
In the early 1950s, Horst immigrated to the United States and became a US citizen after the mandatory 5-year waiting period. He loves to travel and has visited all 50 states in the US, most of Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and some Central American countries. He now resides with his wife Jennifer of 41 years, in Northern California, where he has been for the last thirty years.What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Loyal To A Degree is based on my own experiences as a young boy in Germany in the days leading up to the fall of Berlin. Many books have been written about World War II, but none have been written from the perspective of a 14 year old German boy who was forced for fight for a cause he did not understand. Hardly any of us survived and those that did, didn’t have a voice and never spoke of what it was like when Berlin fell into the hands of the Soviets.
Now in the digital world of self publishing and as one of the very few who are still alive and able to report about, I have a story to tell.