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The East: Debut Novel Offers Rare Glimpse Into Occupied Germany During World War II

Written by Fritz H. Schroeder, this book is a stunningly written ode to an ordinary boy growing up in extraordinary circumstances. Plumbing the deepest parts of the human heart and carefully examining the decline of a country, ‘The East’ proves itself as one of the definitive works about the Second World War.


Boulder City, NV -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/18/2014 -- Many years ago, author Fritz H. Schroeder was just a boy growing up in Germany. Soon, darkness fell and war broke out – changing his life irrevocably. After surviving World War II, American and British occupation and finally Russian Communist occupation, Schroeder finally escaped and immigrated to the United States.

In his debut novel, ‘The East’, Schroeder offers his unique perspective to the fictional account of a young boy coming of age during wartime.

“Through the eyes of an innocent, we can truly see the devastation of the Second World War,” says the author. “Although the events are still so recent, I often think that we don’t examine them enough and learn from them. We were all just ordinary people during that time and grappled with conflicting emotions – fear, love, loneliness. In ‘The East’, I wanted to detail what I had felt, but also offer new and fresh insights into how the war changed Germany and its people forever.”

Shedding light on the terror and isolation of occupation and contrasting that with the beautiful normality of life before the war, ‘The East’ is a singular achievement of staggering power and grace.


Why is it that since the beginning of time there has always been a few obsessed with getting the power to control the many? Such is the central question of The East, a deeply probing work of historical fiction that tells the story of Germany’s profound loss of innocence during World War II.

Based on the personal experience of author Fritz H. Schroeder, this rare and gripping glimpse of occupied Germany casts somber light on the human condition in times of utter desperation. Anyone who is interested in the history that informs the contemporary western world has much to glean from this evocative, candid look at a country in its decline.

The narrator is a young boy growing up at the onset of the war, as life begins to take darker tones under Hitler’s consuming passion for worldwide power. From the merry gossip of the women’s daily kaffeeklatsch to the awe-inspiring magic created by his best school friend Romm, the young protagonist paints an idyllic portrait of childhood, community, family tradition, and place that is marked by Christmas festivities, tending the garden, local romance, and more. At the same time, The East interweaves the historical timeline of World War II, advancing the growing dominance of nationalism at the same time as its characters become forever changed by their wartime circumstances.

In their once peaceful town, the inhabitants soon reel from the aftermath of Germany’s loss of the war, with the initial month-long occupation by the Americans, followed by the squalid conditions of their five years under Communist occupation. A love story embedded in tragedy, The East holds a mirror up to one of recent history’s most complex conflicts to share the perspective of a few ordinary souls who must grapple with extraordinary, life-changing events. Beautifully crafted and soul stirring, The East is a must-read for anyone who seeks to mine one country’s troubled mind and heart.

Since it’s publication, the book has earned glowing reviews.

“Each paragraph "forced me" to read the next. I couldn't put it down!! It's a story about Germany during Hitler's Third Reich, from the perspective of an East German boy. The innocence and desperation of not knowing what the next day could have in store or even if there would BE a next day. It makes you wonder, if push came to shove, could you do what was necessary to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones?” wrote Gayle.

“This book definitely is worth five stars and deserves a place on university bookshelves and classrooms teaching the German view of World War II "from inside the Third Reich,” wrote Andrew M. Mayer for the Palmetto Review.

“A remarkable read, "The East". Who would have thought to share the interrelations of family and community during Hitler’s presence? Whom did one need to know to survive? Many wore masks. Giving up your morality was not a choice, but survival. "Hope"' gave the innocent a reason to carry forward in some fashion, excusing them from the strife and deteriorating life style of wartime. How noble, these peoples of many cultures and counties. Never to be the same both physically and mentally, but alive,” wrote Eve.

‘The East’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1i5waTZ or http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-east-fritz-schroeder/1114561395

About the Author: Author Fritz H. Schroeder
Author Fritz H. Schroeder is a retired businessman and former one term American soldier, if you read the book you will learn why. He grew up as a German national during WWII, and remained there through the American and British occupation; and then lived under Russian Communist occupation for five years and then escaped. He later immigrated to the United States after which he joined the American Armed Forces. While in retirement, the author decided to write the story of witnessing history being made through a young boy's eyes in the form of a biographical novel. He currently resides in Nevada.