SCHROON LAKE - It's been more than six decades, but Christa Holder Ocker will never forget growing up in Germany during World War II.
"Throughout the years I have been asked 'What was it like growing up in Nazi Germany?'" Ocker said. "With countless others of my generation, I shared the guilt of the Holocaust and evaded this question for a very long time. But when an ex-Nazi youth became our Pope, I decided it was, perhaps, all right to accept the past."
Ocker, who has a home in Schroon Lake, has written a book based on her childhood memories.
auf Wiedersehen is the story of a young German girl whose family flees a comfortable life to live as poor immigrants, while wondering about the fate of her father, a soldier in the German army. It's a six-year journey amid fear, illness, hunger and more.
"Once I started writing, once the floodgates were opened, the memories were vivid and close," Ocker said.
The book is fiction, but based on her life. In the story she recalls meeting her first American soldier.
"When I saw him reach into his jeep and pull out a Hershey bar, I hastened my step and grabbed it quick before he could change his mind," she said, "or before I remembered I had pride."
Ocker feels a responsibility to tell her story.
"I believe I am totally aware of the necessity to speak up, to act, when things are not right," Ocker said. "This does not always make me popular, but it is a trait I consider essential to my happiness."
auf Wiedersehen is not Ocker's first literary effort. She is a contributing author to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and has authored many stories stories and poems. Her story Merry Christmas, My Friend has been translated into many languages and was adapted for a television program starring Mickey Rooney.