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Memoir Review    

 

 

Displaced Person:
A Girl's Life in Russia, Germany, and America
By Ella E. Schneider Hilton
Assisted by Angela K. Hilton
LSU Press, 2003
Hardcover, $34.95 (296 pages)
ISBN: 0-8071-2878-3
 
 
 

Like many people, Ella Schneider Hilton wanted to write a book when she retired; unlike many people, she started writing the memoir that would become A Displaced Person on July 5th, 1998, the day she retired from the Civil Service Department of the United States Army. 

Sitting at her computer, she typed her memories as they came to her, beginning with her mother screaming. 

Born to German parents in Russia in 1936, Ella witnessed World War II firsthand. In 1941, on the day Germany invaded Russia, her father was arrested in Kiev by Soviet authorities and never seen again. Her mother, fluent in German, aided the occupying military. She was forced to escape with her children to Germany when the Russian troops took back the city. The remaining family members, including Ella, spent seven years in a refugee camp in Germany.  

Her mother, still a young woman, remarried a widower. The family immigrated to the United States where they were "sponsored" by a farmer in Mississippi. They lived in poverty, picking cotton for a living. Ella's dream of getting a full college scholarship ends the book. 

Mrs. Hilton sought the help of her youngest daughter, Angela, in editing the book since English is her third language. Her goal in publishing the memoir is to bring attention to "the plight of the most innocent victims of war." She writes, "The women and children who were displaced during World War II and the hardships they endured have been long overlooked." 

Mrs. Hilton, once a teacher and now retired, lives in Virginia.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

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