"STEPS OF COURAGE"
My Parents' Journey from Nazi Germany to America   by Bettina Hoerlin   www.bettinahoerlin.com
Home

THIS SWEEPING LOVE STORY HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE:

  • FORBIDDEN ROMANCE in HITLER'S GERMANY 
  • THE DANGERS of being a JEWISH MISCHLINGE (mixed blood) 
  • BAD NAZIS and even a 'GOOD' ONE
  • EXTREME MOUNTAINEERING 
  • THE IMPACT of NAZISM on SCIENCE and MUSIC
  • THE AMERICAN IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE  
  • LIFE in THE ATOMIC CITY of LOS ALAMOS during the COLD WAR 
  • and SUBSEQUENTLY in SANTA FE and more.....
A UNIVERSAL TALE OF LOVE, ADVENTURE AND COURAGE

When I opened up an old, dusty leather suitcase a few years ago, little did I expect to find a treasure trove of over 500 love letters between my parents written during their courtship from 1934 to 1938. Their romance coincided with the rise of Hitler and growing anti-Semitism in Germany, events that profoundly shaped their lives.

Inspired by translating these letters from the German as well as my discovery of untapped German archives, I began to write STEPS OF COURAGE: My Parents' Journey from Nazi Germany to America. A highly personal narrative intermingled with historical events, my book plays out against some of the most significant markers of the 20th century: Hitler's Germany, the American immigrant experience and finally, ever-growing nuclear threats of the Cold War.

In 1934, my father, a handsome world record-holding mountaineer and aspiring physicist, falls in love with my mother, a stunning widow whose husband was murdered by the Nazis. Racial laws prohibit their marriage but in a rare exception and with the direct assistance of Hitler's personal assistant (a 'good' Nazi), they manage to wed and flee Germany. In America, my parents were considered enemy aliens and faced different adversities; ironically, they are later recruited to the most secret place of all, the Atomic City of Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Steps of Courage is a tale of love, terror, and adventure that features heroes and villains. It covers the status of Mischlinge (part-Jews) in Hitler's Germany and the nazification of extreme mountaineering, scientific research, and musical life. When my parents immigrate to America, they face a new set of challenges. In their unique journey, they befriend such icons as cellist Pablo Casals, conductor Wilhelm Furtwangeler, Eleanor Roosevelt, singer/actor Paul Robeson, painter Georgia O'Keefe and several Nobel-prize-winning physicists. But above all, in Steps of Courage you will read a universal and timeless story of courage.


VIEW MY BOOK TRAILER: