Who knows Jo Manno Remark? Three of his books are translated into English and can be obtained anywhere in the world. They are edited by Books On Demand, Norderstedt/Germany. This is a good thing, as Remark tells authentically of his time as a soldier in the war in 1944. They are urgent documents against violence and war.
“At 16 too young to die”, “Gift of life” and “You are my brother”
- three small books with great demand!
The novels in German by Jo Manno Remark are gladly read and highly praised as works of anti-war literature. The more the stories read, the more articulate their concern and enthusiasm in short statements to me as the author. I have chosen this pseudonym as the author of my three stories which arose from the memory of my time as an advanced young soldier, in order to remain unrecognized. For a lifetime I have not spoken about my experiences, because I felt my participation in the events as a personal failure and guilt. I was afraid that I would be reproached with what I had never forgiven myself. In the meantime everyone knows the connections.
Because of current political events, I feel obliged to demonstrate at an advanced age, to how close life and blame lie together. I tell my story in view of the fact that more and more forces of our society push us to subtle mechanisms of violence, and constantly try to grip us through all aspects of life.
The events that could happen during the Battle of the Bulge seem particularly to document how much people can rise and how deep they can sink.
I am now 89 years old and know what I write and how I write it. For me my experiences as a young soldier were a trauma that attaches to me for my lifetime. With the books, I provide readers not heroic epic, but my stories are coping with the worst time of my life.
At 16 too young to die
ISBN: 9783 7392 36711
Although written as a novel the events of the Ardennes offensive have been a defining characteristic for the author's life. He has succeeded in communicating to the reader an anti-war story which has grown out of his own experiences. The story does not remain in the simple reproduction of inhuman scenes but goes further into the realm of humane thought and rejection of the hate which accompanies war. As a result of current political events the author feels obliged, in his advanced years, to demonstrate how intertwined daily life and guilt can be. He does this in recognition of the fact that increasingly more powers in our society are trying to propel us to subtle mechanisms of violence in all aspects of our lives. The events which can occur in such an environment as the battle of the bulge demonstrate to the author both: how high human nature can rise and also how deep it can sink.
These thematic points bring the book into focus as a novel as opposed to a documentary or historical account. Nevertheless it contains features of documentary in that its realism is so vivid. This is due, of course, to the fact that Remark drew on his own experiences in the trenches. The horrors he describes give the book a strong degree of polemicism or implied denunciation of war itself. But the book’s novelistic qualities are further based round its varied characters, their qualities, idiosyncrasies, and actions, as in any novel.
Written from the German view of the war but that is irrelevant as the same points could be made which ever side you were on.
Gift of Life
Desertion in the Ardennes 1944
ISBN: 9783 8370 66722
A positive tuned novel of a desertion out of the hell of the Battle of the Bulge in the winter 1944, where the course of the war stays in strong contrast to the tender love story that develops between the German deserter and the pretty Belgian Monique. The book is the rejection of all forms of violence, particularly the war as most inhumane condition of human coexistence. For the author were his experiences as a young soldier a trauma that attaches to him for a lifetime. With the books, he provides readers not heroic epic, but they are coping with the worst time of his life.
You are my brother
ISBN: 9783 7392 46642
Samuel West talks about his life as an Afro-American in New York at the 30s and the beginning of the war. Werner Hofken talks from his Nazi Germany in Cologne. Both their youths join the training as soldiers and the war effort in foreign countries. In the winter of 1944 their fateful meeting as mortal enemies occurs during the Ardennes battle. For the author were his experiences as a young soldier a trauma that attaches to him for a lifetime. With the books, he provides readers not heroic epic, but they are coping with the worst time of his life."