Childhood in ruins

By Barbara Warning

What was it like back then? How did children and adolescents experience World War II and the years after?. In her book “Childhood in ruins” Barbara Warning lends voice to those who were children or teenagers 70 years ago and whose biographies are marked by the war and postwar period: Refugee children talk about the treks, so-called “wolf children” tell how they had to survive in the woods on their own, without parents; urban children remember the bomb attacks at night and growing up among ruins.

It is a book about determined mothers and absent fathers, about hunger and cold. For some, the memories are so vivid that they use the present tense to bring them back to life. What sets this book apart is the tension between “then and now”. Many witnesses insist that they regarded the war and its consequences merely as a “game” back then. Reading the accounts, one cannot help but wonder whether some have – unwittingly – whitewashed their memories. Barbara Warning has compiled interviews, reports with quotes and further information, original documents and photos to put together a book that does not conceal anything, thereby inciting readers to want to know even more.

Barbara Warning, (born in Munich in 1962), studied history and English. She lives in Hamburg as a freelance journalist and author.