Each year, when the anniversary of D-Day and the Normandy invasion draws near, I am petitioned with questions pursuant to the writing of the WWII novel, How Angels Die. For the most part, I am able to rely on the extensive research conducted for the novel seasoned with the personal accounts of my uncles – who were there. The novel’s continued strong position as a sales leader (especially in Europe) remains a blessing. However, this year I am confronted with a new set of facts and a broader impact I wish to share.
Losing St. Christopher, Book 2 in the Cherokee Trilogy was released Wednesday June 4th. . And while the two novels share the historical fiction genre, they share another common link that is virtually unknown.
Angels, with its storyline centered on the French Resistance references the Nazis and their brutal tactics. St. Christopher details one family’s trek on the infamous Trail of Tears as well as the greed and political wrangling that led to the 1,200 mile forced death march .
What the research uncovers is that 100 years after the interment, starvation, and forced migration of the Cherokee from Georgia, the Carolinas, and eastern Tennessee, similar tactics were utilized by the Nazis in the removal of European Jews and others deemed ‘undesirable’ to the Third Reich. While a cursory glance would show a passing similarity, in-depth research uncovers a deeper, harsher reality.
100 years before Auschwitz
When Hitler and the Nazi war machine researched a blueprint for their ‘Final Solution,’ they looked to the United States Congress and vote number 149, May 26, 1830. Through The Indian Removal Act, the United States government introduced starvation, disease, and warehousing of human beings as a sanctioned method to annihilate a people, a culture, and a way of life.
In 1953, Albert Speer, Germany’s Minister of Armaments & War Production, wrote from Spandau Prison, Berlin, of the genocide of the American Indian. Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, leader of the dreaded German S.S., Adolf Eichmann, chief mechanic of the Holocaust, and others, had studied the United States Government’s removal and attempted eradication of the American Indian. The Nazis employed similar approaches, admittedly on a far more massive and destructive scale, a hundred years later.
The saying is, “History repeats itself.” As we commemorate the sacrifice of so many dedicated individuals at Normandy, the liberation of the Nazi death camps, and defeat of Hitler’s Germany, save a reverent thought for the American Indian whose suffering was inflicted, not by a maniacal madman leading pagans with wanton bloodlust in their eyes, but by the United States of America – a Nation whose founding premise was freedom.