From Fear to Freedom
WWII - Never Forget - Never Again
By Gary Sumner
"Compelling story, impeccable research, excellent writing."
--Brian Sussman, KSFO Radio Talk Show Host & bestselling author
In Gary Sumner's new book, From Fear to Freedom: WWII - Never Forget - Never Again, he tells the story of a prisoner who tried to escape one of Hitler's prison camps but disappeared. In both the Pacific and European theaters in WWII, prisoners who tried to escape were sentenced to severe punishment - even death. In From Fear to Freedom, his heroine, Nikki Brown, an investigative reporter, went on a quest to Germany to find out what had happened to a POW from WWII who her grandfather had told her about.
As history tells us, Adolf Hitler ruled with an iron fist during his horrifying reign. When the war was coming to an end, the Nazis in more than one case put POWs in barns and then set them on fire. The Nazis wanted no witnesses to testify against them. The dead, however, spoke loud and clear of the Nazis' barbarism.
Of the hundreds of Hitler's prison camps, Commandant Schmidt was in charge of the camp where a young Army Air Corps pilot, Captain James Hansen, was held. The Commandant had countless rules, each with its own punishment. Escape attempts carried the death penalty. Captain Hansen nevertheless tried to escape, and like the others before him, he failed. When he was marched back into camp, the Commandant greeted him with: "Welcome back, Captain. Care to take a walk?" The commandant gave those condemned to death a choice: the firing squad or an unknown fate, deep in the woods. When they came to a stop, Hansen realized the other choice was what he feared the most.
Nikki's grandfather Vince was also a POW in Commandant Schmidt's camp, where he witnessed Captain Hansen being led into the woods. The Captain was the only one who never returned to face the firing squad. Whatever was in the woods, Hansen chose the unknown. What was in the woods? Only Commandant Schmidt knew and he kept that a secret.
Many years later, Nikki's grandfather Vince shared his war experiences with his young granddaughter, gradually revealing more and more as she grew old enough to handle the truth and understand the valuable life lessons that history teaches. When she finally learns the story of the mysterious young Army Air Corp pilot, she sets out on a journey to find out who he was and his fate. It is a journey that led her across the United States to Germany where she discovered the terrifying power of fear, the inspirational power of faith, and the he healing power of forgiveness.
About the Author: Gary Sumner comes from a long line of patriots starting in the 1600s. The most famous was Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. Senator Sumner was nearly beaten to death for his stance against slavery. He and Lincoln, were such good friends, when the President was shot, the Senator was allowed to stay with him during the night while he lay dying. Gary has dedicated more than thirty years of research on the courageous lives of dedicated Americans and pivotal events of our country's history. Gary has uniquely woven history with a twist of a mystery into an intriguing book, leaving the reader wanting to learn more.