Unveiling the Past: Cynthia Sandor’s ‘Through Innocent Eyes’ reveals WWII family secrets

Daughter finds mother's secret journal from the time she was in the Hitler Youth.

In a stunning revelation, Cynthia Sandor unveils a remarkable story of family, history, and redemption in her book, “Through Innocent Eyes – The Chosen Girls of the Hitler Youth.”

Cynthia will be a guest author at the 33rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Air Museum WWII Weekend, June 7 – 9th, 2024. She will be located in the Commercial Hanger. In addition to her book, she will display various original BDM items including her mother’s proficiency badges, banners, and patches along with items from her father who served in the 87th Infantry Division.

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In 1938, ten-year-old Gertrude Kerschner, of Kleinzell, Austria, was sworn into the League of German Girls. At thirteen, the Reich’s Ministry specifically chooses Gertrude for the Country Service Year Camp program, entitled “Landjahr Lager,” sending her four-hundred miles away for eight months to learn about home economics, farming, and working in the community.

Discovering the journal four months before her mothers passing was a revelation for Cynthia. She has always known her mother as a kind, gentle soul, but the worn pages of the journal paint a picture of a vastly different time.

As she spoke with her mother, she found herself transported back to a tumultuous era of World War II, finding herself swept up in the fervor and propaganda of the Nazi regime. This book chronicles Gertrude’s journey from indoctrination to marrying PFC Robert Sandor of the 87th Infantry Division.

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Gaining insight into her mother’s struggles, fears, and ultimately, her resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity, the journal became an inspiration for Cynthia’s own journey―a journey to understand her mother’s past and the broader historical content that shaped her family today.

Driven by a desire to honor her mother’s experiences and shed light on a dark chapter of history, Cynthia set out to write “Through Innocent Eyes.” Spending countless hours researching, interviewing family members to retracing her mother’s footsteps throughout Austria and Poland, she grapples with the complexity of her family’s past.

“Through Innocent Eyes” is Cynthia’s labor of love and a testament to the power of understanding and forgiveness. Through Gertrude’s story, Cynthia aims to humanize the individuals who found themselves caught in the web of Nazi propaganda, while confronting the uncomfortable truths of complicity and moral ambiguity.

Having found its way into the hands of readers around the world, Cynthia realizes her mother’s journal is not just a relic of the past, but also a beacon of hope for future generations. In sharing her mother’s story, she hopes to inspire others to confront their own family legacies and strive for a better, more compassionate world.

Born into a military family, Cynthia’s passion for history led her to establish BDM History Publishing. She lives in Conneaut, Ohio―the town hosting the largest D-Day WWII-reenactment in the U.S. Currently, she is immersed in researching her upcoming book “Walking in My Father’s Footsteps,” a project inspired by her father’s valiant service in the 87th Infantry Division.” Learn more: bdmhistory.com

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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