As I was writing The Swastika Tattoo, I often wondered how many WW II veterans were dying every day. According to Slate, the number is 1,100. That’s info from the federal government.
The passing of these veterans is not only sad, but America’s history of the 20th Century is passing with them. I have no idea how many Germans are passing, but I assume it is probably at the same rate of Americans, considering that Germany has a great health care system.
That’s why I traveled to Germany in 2007 to interview Volkmar Koenig who served as a U-boat officer on the deadly U-99 with famed U-boat commander Otto Kretschmer. Kretschmer successfully directed his crew during eight patrols to torpedo 44 ships, sinking 38. Herr Koenig was but a young man when he served on U-99, but he was one of the survivors when the boat was scuttled off Iceland after being depth charged by a British destroyer. After that, Herr Koenig spent about five years in a Canadian prisoner of war camp. He died in August 2008, and his passing affected me deeply because of his many kindnesses during the time my husband and I visited him and his wife, Dorothee.
With much help from U-boat enthusiasts and experts–Ken Dunn, Jak P. Malmann Showell, and the U-Boat Archive in Cuxhaven, Germany, not to mention information gleaned from uboat.net., this book could not have been written. While I haven’t found a publisher (yet) for the first volume of the novel, I am publishing an exerpt from the second volume at amazon.com. This exerpt tells the story of a former U-boat prisoner of war who has spent 2 1/2 years in an American POW camp located near Phoenix. Rudolf Meier is now returning to his beloved Bremen on a train filled with other German POWs. I hope you find this exerpt interesting. http://amzn.to/wosWZa.