In My Tainted Blood, a true story, the author hides to avoid capture during WWII. In the book the author, a German Jew teenager, has to hide himself and his loved ones to avoid capture during WWII. This 400 page tuner is based on the true-life story of Hubert C. Kueter.
My Tainted Blood follows Hubert as a boy and teenager in wartime Breslau and postwar Germany. People’s names have been changed but the circumstances are all too real.
One wonders how Kueter can outwit so many adults, to keep the love his life along with his mother and himself alive. The young teen turns surviving in WWII’s Germany into an adventure and writes about his exploits with wit and humor. But the memoirs haunt him still. The injustices, outright discrimination growing up before Nazi occupation and then fearing for his life and the lives of his loved ones on the run from possible internment is not something one easily forgets.
“It’ll always be with me,” said Kueter. “It’s my life.”
In My Tainted Blood Hubert also imparts insights into German Jews, their unrequited love of Germany and his unexpected friendship with an African American soldier.
The incorporation of the author’s love of cooking, at a time when he had to forage for food under the Nazi regime, adds a unique dimension to the chronicle.
With Anti-Semitic incidents occurring throughout Europe Kueter believes the book should now be translated into German.
“We must never forget,” he said. “I believe it is my responsibility to tell my story in the hope of bringing more awareness and understanding about a difficult time in our history.”
Kueter comes from a family of brave souls. His great aunt, the chemist Clara Immerwahr, was the first woman to earn a degree in Germany and was a women’s rights activist. She died in 1915.
My Tainted Blood was first published in 2009 by Polar Bear & Company of Solon, Maine and the publisher would like to do the translation edition as well.
“Hubert Kueter’s accomplishment in this memoir is a unique literary triumph, but it is as well a vivid account of the strength of the human spirit.”
– Ferdinand Jones, PhD, professor emeritus of Psychology, Brown University
“With a large dose of humor, Hubert Kueter has written a fascinating book that is hard to put down. The experience of people with mixed background in Nazi Germany is an area of great interest to historians, and this account will contribute to it. But the book offers much more. It is written with a wit and elegance that reveal a remarkable talent. Kueter relishes in his schemes to outwit the Nazis, and he takes every opportunity to reveal his passion for culinary intricacies, which he describes in vivid prose.”
–Raffael Scheck, PhD, Chair, Department of History, Colby College
About the Author:
Hubert C. Kueter, born 1930 in Breslau, Germany, received his PhD in Germanic languages and literature at the University of Michigan. He taught German language and literature at Colby College from 1965 to 1997. During the first ten years at Colby, he enjoyed working part time as a certified ski instructor at Sugarloaf USA.
“If you’ve ever served in a state legislature, lobbied one, or just read about their activities in the newspaper and wondered what goes on behind the scenes, you’ll love this book! From page one I couldn’t put it down and I loved every word of Neil’s stories crafted from ‘behind the scenes’ in the Maine legislature,” wrote Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in the book. “The characters may be fictional, but thanks to Neil’s insights and knowledge, coupled with his wonderful writing style, they all came to life.”
Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician is published by Maine’s Polar Bear & Company.
Please click on the image to learn more about these upcoming book signings and future ones.
“The personal element is stronger in the affairs of legislative bodies than of any other branch of government, but it is a hard thing to convey in straight reporting. The public understanding of the legislative process is poorer as a result. As an experienced and influential legislator, with a great gift for storytelling, Neil Rolde is the ideal person to remedy this defect, and this volume of Political Tales delivers on that promise,” wrote U.S. House of Representative Barney Frank in the book. “The stories are educational and entertaining in equal measure, and people who read them will be better prepared to understand what goes on when legislators meet and transact important public business.”
The tales can transport the reader into what the working lives of some lawmakers must be like as they are true to reality.
“The short stories are fictional, to be sure, but they incorporate almost a quarter of a century working directly in State government and even more years involved in the politics of Maine. They bear out my extensive experience of the political scene from the inside, not as expressed by opinionated media nor by the average person seeing things from outside,” said Rolde.
Mr. Rolde’s many years of public service include being an assistant to Governor Kenneth M. Curtis of Maine for six years and 16 years as an elected Representative in the Maine Legislature. He represented his district of York, Maine and became Majority Leader of the Maine House during the 107th legislature from 1975-77. He became the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1990 in an election bid against Bill Cohen.
“The stories were engaging – reminding an insider of the ‘old days,’ and giving an outside observer a good sense of what truly goes on behind the scenes. It certainly brought me back to the days when I was sitting in one of those leather chairs, hearing the gavel come down and wondering what was about to happen next!” added Pingree.
Anyone reading the stories should gain respect for our lawmakers and will be surprised by Rolde’s candid style.
“They illustrate that our governments are made up of human beings – and in Maine at least, doing their level best to deal with the needs of the population at the lowest possible cost. It was said that we Maine legislators worked for a salary of three cents an hour,” said Rolde.
One has to ask which stories reflect Neil’s own experiences?
“All of them and none of them,” said Rolde. “They are fiction. Some contain actual events in which I participated but in different settings and circumstances. I have tried to cover the complexities of the two different positions I held in Augusta, first the administrative side working for the Governor in the Executive Department and then the legislative side as an elected State Representative. Also included are boards, commissions and non-profits, many on which I served, that help form the matrix of stability in the U.S. There are even references to Washington, D.C. and how it can and does interact with the States.”
Rolde’s books are extensively researched and most involve the history of Maine and its people. The plight of Native Americans has been a reoccurring theme in Rolde’s life since his childhood and he helped Maine’s tribes while he worked in the Curtis administration. These experiences led him to write one of Maine’s definitive historic books: Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians.
Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician also show us Neil’s wealth of knowledge, humor and wit.
“All of this is part of the American political scene. Bashing the leaders we elect goes back to President George Washington, even though he was elected unanimously. Mud slinging is as American as apple pie,” said Rolde. “I once had a fantasy of introducing a bill requiring every American to serve at least one term in a government body. That might add a sense of reality and humanity to our governance. Alas, it is ‘an idea whose time hasn’t and will never come.’”
Rolde has won awards for his books from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Maine Humanities Council.
Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician is Neil’s second fictional work.
Conversations with Quetzalcoatl
In this intriguing collection, Esther Pasztory, explores the interweaving of the intellect and the imagination with the daily life inside a traditional marriage and the gifts each has to give to the other. The readers’ many transitions between the two worlds, reflective of Ms. Pasztory’s own life, are easy, as both worlds are attractive, and yet, it is Pasztory’s imaginative apparitions and musings that are most illuminating.
When Quetzalcoatl’s pre-Columbian baritone in “Conversations with Quetzalcoatl,” forces open the quiet in Anna’s twenty-first-century study, and he appropriates the most comfortable piece of furniture in the room, a love seat, readers know they are in for a love story. However, this is not only a love story of an inspired female intellect searching for the true identity of Quetzalcoatl (is he pre-Columbian because he dreams in Nahuatl or Colonial Mexican, the greatest god in Mesoamerica?) but also the tale of a tender twenty-first-century marriage between Anna and her husband, Roy, one in which the couple eat by candlelight, wait for each other in bed, love their children and grandchildren. Quetzalcoatl offers Anna a world beyond the clouds. Roy offers her a Friday fish fry dinner down at the Dockyard Café to celebrate a beautiful late summer’s day in Maine.
Conversations with Quetzalcoatl is Published by Maine’s Polar Bear & Company of Solon.
In “The Brave,” Ms. Pasztory contrasts the powers of a Lenni Lenape Indian ghost and a practical wife to affect the destiny of a depressed Pennsylvania man recovering from a triple bypass operation, while in “The Lover,” Pasztory explores the fatal appearances of forces from beyond in the ancient antiquities and festivals of Mexico.
In “The Gentleman in the Elevator,” two women of Hungarian parentage, one still in Budapest and the other in a large American city, write to each other of their lives. One details the cascading horrors of her daily life; the other tells of her creation and manipulation of the ghosts in hers. The hyperbole is deft and the black humor farcical.
This group of five stories is anchored by the final and longest short story, “My Jo,” yet in this most interesting search for identity, told the in first person, nothing is anchored. Two Hungarian expatriates, refugees from the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Union, have found each other and live compatibly together in a marriage that has lasted almost forty years. While Margo, the geneticist wife, is still engaged in her search for square tomatoes that will pack and travel well, the narrator, a designer, has arranged to leave his work and ruminate on the American character formed by birthright. The narrator begins to write a novel and creates a companion for this search, Jo, a multi-generation American, born on an island off the coast of Maine. She becomes an uncomplaining companion and a great foil for this Hungarian’s disquisition on the American character. The reader passes in and out of the narrator’s novel, which will never be finished, and the actual peripatetic adventures from coast to coast, south to north, even unto Alaska, as through a kaleidoscope of pontificating and yearning. On these picaresque journeys with a stranger in a strange land, much is learned through the ruminations of a gifted first-generation American.
Ms. Pasztory’s five stories, at once humorous and haunting, bring the reader to a knowledge of both her intellectual accomplishment and her rich inner life. They create an immense space for the reader’s intellect and tenderness.
–From the Foreword by Nancy B. Hodermarsky
About the author: Esther Pasztory
Esther Pasztory’s many and innovative nonfiction publications in her field of expertise opened new cross-cultural vistas that are further explored in these five short stories.
“I am often looking for a humorous, lighthearted read on a serious topic, with a bit of fantasy thrown in. So I wrote some myself. As a Hungarian immigrant, my fascination is with the Americas, from Maine to Mexico, all interesting places, all temporarily homes. Some still inhabited by the ghosts of Indians.” –Esther Pasztory
Esther Pasztory is the Lisa and Bernard Selz Professor of pre-Columbian Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. She was born in Hungary and is the author of a memoir entitled “Remove Trouble from Your Heart,” 2008. Her fiction work includes the historical romance “Daughter of the Pyramids: Colonial Tales,” 2002, and a sequel, “The Death of Professor Brown,” in preparation. She has published extensively in the field of pre-Columbian art.