We Don't Talk About That by Giselle Roeder

Local author shares nightmare

Giselle Roeder will read from her book Sept. 26 at the Parksville Library

High on the list of things people don’t talk about is the treatment women often receive during war.

When local Second World War survivor Giselle Roeder’s aunt was dying, she asked her aunt about her war experiences, only to receive the answer she’d heard many times — “We don’t talk about that,” and knew she had the title of her next book.

“During the war we weren’t allowed to talk about it. Under the Nazis we would have been shot, then after the war, under the Communists, we would have been sent to prison,” she said of her childhood in Pomerania, on the Baltic sea on the border of Poland and Germany.

She was a naive five-year-old farm girl “when the brown shirts (Nazis) came and took our horses. ‘Why our horse?’ I asked my father, ‘he said because Hitler needs it,’ I said ‘can’t he use another horse?’ ”

Relatively isolated from the early stages of the war in their bucolic farming corner of the country, it wasn’t until years later when the Russian front was advancing on Germany that things got really difficult.

The sweeping story of her experiences leading up to and throughout the war and the aftermath under the Russians and then trapped in East Germany are told in her latest book.

The book is getting a lot of media attention and earning high praise, including from people like historian and author Bob Pickles who called it “…the missing piece of the puzzle of WWII….should be required reading in schools….literary and historically be put next to Anne Frank’s Diary.”

While there are funny anecdotes and it covers a large sweep of European history, the heart of the story is what happened when the Russian soldiers where unleashed by Stalin as part of the punishment for the war. Various reports estimate the number of rapes well into the millions. Roeder writes about the under-reported experience of so many and deals frankly and openly with her own experiences during what was already a nightmarish era for anyone to live through.

As another reviewer Ann Victoria Roberts put it, “this personal story, the things she witnessed and experienced — is told without begging for sympathy, but simply the way it happened… Her words carry more weight because of it. As a piece of social history it is a valuable document.”

The book is available in local libraries and online at giselleroeder.com. Catch her reading at the Parksville Library Friday, Sept. 26 at 1:30 p.m.

Just Posted

$3.5M all-season turf field planned for Qualicum Beach

Town seeks grant for community playing surface upgrades

Car theft suspect arrested in Coombs

Vehicle and two motorcyles recovered on Jan. 16

Qualicum Beach council big on support for multi-use cinema proposal

Society asks for 10,000 square feet, gets recommendation to consider with strategic plan

Lincoln stolen from Parksville dealership found near Duncan

Vehicle was located three days later with minor damage

Ballenas student experiment going into space

Science experiment designed by five SD69 students will travel to International Space Station

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

B.C. government extends coastal log export rules for six months

Premier John Horgan talks forest policy at loggers’ convention

B.C. pair accused of ‘honour-killing’ in India to be extradited within days

Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha are accused of conspiracy to commit murder

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

FOCUS: Canada’s revamped impaired driving law brews ‘potential for injustice’

There must be ‘trigger’ for cops to come knocking, Surrey MP says

Barack Obama to speak at Vancouver event

Former U.S. president will speak with board of trade in March

Former welfare clients still owed money, B.C. Ombudsperson says

Investigation found 2,600 people docked illegally for earning income

Most Read