At I Heart Lesfic, we believe the world could use a bit more kindness after one of the hardest and longest of years. Many authors have signed up to help IHL spread kindness in the world.
Today, the wonderful Mary D. Brooks is here to share a story. Also, Mary is giving away 1 ecopy of In the Blood of the Greeks. Below the guest post, you’ll find more details about the giveaway.
Take it away, Mary.
Kindness That Changed My World
Everyone knows what kindness is, and usually, we are on the receiving end by someone who has given us the gift in person. The kindness I would like to talk about is the act of being generous and kind via another method.
On September 9, 2001, I was in Washington DC, visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. My adopted grandmother was a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. When I was fourteen years old, she gave me a book called “I Am Rosemarie” about a sixteen-year-old in a concentration camp. That book changed my world. My grandmother was why I chose to write my first novel, “In the Blood of the Greeks,” about the holocaust in Greece.
I was at the Museum and struggled to keep my composure. I knew what the Nazis did, but it’s the stark visual like a room full of shoes that survived when their owners did not make it, that significantly impacted me.
The Museum has a section where Holocaust survivors give testimony of their experiences via video. By this time, I was emotionally overwrought (that’s the whole idea – if you didn’t feel overwhelmed by the barbarity, you must check your pulse because you’re more likely dead).
I watch the videos, and they make an impact on me. It’s one of those videos that would leave the biggest impression on me. To my shame, I don’t remember the woman’s name, but I remember her words and how she made me feel. I’m going to call her Edith.
Edith started her testimony by talking about her experience in the camps. She was the only survivor of a large family. Edith then began to talk about her life after her liberation. She found love and married an Allied soldier. She had advice for people who had undergone a traumatic time in their lives. Edith said she would look back at her time in the Concentration Camp and be overwhelmed by sorrow and regrets. Her memories didn’t allow her to move forward. She was stuck in the past. Edith found that by looking back and reliving her pain, she let the Nazis torture her again. Her mental wounds would never heal because she wasn’t letting go of the past. Edith decided that she didn’t want the Nazis to win by wallowing in the past. Edith’s solution was to live in the moment and look to the future. That takes a lot of strength to achieve, and suffice to say, it’s not easy to will yourself not to think of your trauma. We are all at the mercy of our past, but there is a way to deal with painful memories.
I was in awe of this woman, and I lost the battle not to break down and cry. I felt sorry for myself because I had walked out on an abusive marriage, and that’s all I was doing; living in the past. Edith had undergone the brutality of the Nazis, but here she was, showing unimaginable strength and a solution to a problem
My life had been a piece of cake compared to Edith’s experiences, but the principles were the same. Don’t live in the past. Don’t allow those who hurt you to repeatedly reopen those wounds. It sounds like an easy plan, but it’s not; you have to force yourself to adhere to the ‘no wallow rule.’ Of course, that’s not to say your memories won’t try to resurface; they will. It’s up to you how you handle them.
Edith’s kindness was to pass along her wisdom to those who watched the video, such as myself. If a woman who had undergone torture and the loss of her entire family can find that strength, undoubtedly, I could as well.
I walked out of the Holocaust Museum on that gorgeous sunny day on September 9, 2001, with a new mindset. Edith’s kindness has given me peace of mind and allowed me to grow beyond my past experiences.
Sometimes, you just never know when a simple act of kindness may lead. Edith changed my world, and I thank God for her kindness.
Intertwined Souls Series: Book 1
by Mary D. Brooks
Forbidden love, heart racing suspense, an epic tale set in war-ravaged Greece.
Two women — one a German officer’s daughter, the other a young Greek woman filled with fury — race against time to help Jews and Allied soldiers escape a Greek town during World War II. They are moments from death if their clandestine operation is exposed.
Eva and Zoe should be enemies but fate brings them together to work as a team to accomplish their life saving mission. They find themselves in an unlikely friendship that transcends the barriers between them and while they work to help Jews escape, their unlikely friendship turns to love. Zoe Lambros’ faith in God is shattered after her mother’s death at the hands of the German Commander. She determines to defy the enemy in every way she can–including a festering urge to kill the German Commander’s daughter, Eva Muller.
Eva Muller has a tortured past, and a secret, if revealed, will lead to certain death at the hands of her father. Despite knowing the risk, Eva is working with the village priest to help the Jews escape. With her activities closely observed, Eva needs help to continue the clandestine operation and Zoe Lambros is the answer despite her antagonism to the fiery Greek.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Mary D. Brooks is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of historical romance fiction with a splash of urban fantasy. Passionate about the exploits of heroic women throughout history but especially during WW1 and WW2. After years of not giving birth to the story in her head, she finally relented and wrote her first novel, “In the Blood of the Greeks,” about the Greek Resistance during WW2 in 2001. She was inspired by her grandmother, who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau, and her grandfather’s experiences in the Greek Resistance. Her characters Eva Muller and Zoe Lambros were born – heroic women standing up to the Nazis in Occupied Greece, all thanks to the bravery of unsung heroes. What intended to be one book has blossomed to ten books! When the characters don’t want to leave…
Mary lives in Australia, works as a graphic and web designer, runs her own publishing company, AUSXIP Publishing, and writes her WW2-themed fiction and brings forth art. When she’s not doing all of that (phew!), she’s a voracious bookworm of historical fiction and murder mysteries!
CONNECT WITH MARY D BROOKS
Thanks so much for stopping by today.