From Firing Squad to Living the American Dream by Charlotte Liebig

9781634182300medCharlotte Liebig was born in Poland less than a decade before the start of World War II. Her father worked for a railroad company and died when Charlotte was young; her mother, a chef, ran the kitchen at the railroad station restaurant. As a young girl, Charlotte was known for playing innocent pranks on people and staying out too late after her mother had called her home. But her childhood innocence was interrupted when German troops invaded Poland in 1939, radically altering life there. Following these fateful events, Charlotte recounts the many hardships her mother, brother, and sister faced as the family coped first with one regime (Germany) and then with another (Russia). Remarkably, the story ends well for everyone: after Charlotte met her future husband at university, the family conspired to immigrate to the United States, where they could escape the numerous horrors they had encountered living behind the Iron Curtain.

From Firing Squad to Living the American Dream shows how powerful stories can truly be. Thankfully, many of us alive today would have trouble comprehending what life must have been like for people affected by World War II, as Charlotte’s family was, but that makes this account all the more important. Charlotte relates, with humor, the happy memories from her childhood – like the time her mother sent someone dressed up as Santa Claus to scare her off the ice when she had been skating after dark – but neither is she afraid to describe, in startling detail, the hardships that she and her kin encountered as they sought to escape airstrikes and hostile troops. Hopefully, this biography will serve to inspire today’s generation to improve the world around them, and to appreciate the many luxuries we enjoy as a modern society.

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