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Trauterose: Growing Up in Postwar Munich
Synopsis \tMy book is a first-person account of the postwar years in Munich, Germany, with the war being an ever-present inescapable shadow leaving its physical and psychological marks on me and on those I met and with whom I interacted. \tWhat was it like to be orphaned at birth in the winter of 1942 in Munich, to spend the next eleven years as a foster child in the family of a former SS-officer? What was it like, after the death of my foster mother, to live for seven years in a home for children under the aegis of Catholic Sisters? What was it like to immigrate to the United States at age eighteen without family support or knowledge of English. \tIn telling my story, I draw portraits of people that have affected my life for good or ill. I let the rooms and furniture speak as silent witnesses to our family’s daily struggle. I book-ended my work with critical thoughts about nationality: being considered German in the United States versus being American in Germany. I close with reflections on today’s Germany, with the past intruding on the present, and with my inherited trauma and inherited guilt still pursuing me.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.75 out of 10


Plot: In Trauterose: Growing Up in Postwar Munich, Haggblade examines her past, beginning with her early childhood in Munich following WWII, where she was raised by a foster family before being placed in a children's home. Haggblade powerfully reflects on inequity, historical events, and her conflicted identity as an immigrant raised by parents who supported Hitler.

Prose: Haggblade provides a fine blend of historical content and personal reminiscence. Details of her childhood foster home paint a clear picture of the setting and circumstances. Haggblade's writing is measured and clear, if occasionally flat in its delivery.

Originality: Haggblade's early formative experiences are decidedly unique and will fascinate readers. Her analysis of how life in Munich–and WWII itself–continues to impact her sense of self throughout her adult life, is impactful. 

Character/Execution: Although the author's delivery can come across as more analytical than warmly personal, readers are afforded a vivid glimpse into daily life in postwar Munich. Invested readers will empathize with the author as she immigrates to America and eventually begins to pursue her familial roots. 


Date Submitted: October 05, 2023


Trauterose: Growing Up in Postwar Munich is the compelling first-person account of Elisabeth Haggblade, who was orphaned at birth at the height of World War II and spent the first eleven years of her life under the care of a former S.S. officer and his family.

Like many she knew and met during her formative years, Elisabeth was marked both physically and psychologically by the traumatic events of the war and its aftermath, where negotiating daily life during the most tenuous time in Germany's history often felt like a balancing act. Yet through it all, faith and the help of others prevailed.

Trauterose is the account of one person's search for humanity in existence-a cautionary tale on the inherited guilt created by rampant nationalism, and a painfully honest and often humorous view of the world through the eyes of a young woman who found her way to freedom and purpose.