'War Child is a true story that spans 100 years, revealing agonising choices against the backdrop of Nazi Germany, the lingering effects of war, the 1950s Australian migration experience, and a modern day search ...
'Magdalena (‘Leni’) is an illegitimate child born in a small town in pre-World War II Germany. Spurned by her Catholic grandfather, Leni and her mother live in poverty in a country sliding towards war. Leni joins the Hitler Youth, leaving school at 14 to support her family.
'A brutal employer forces her to submit to systematic rape or face having her mother interned. Fleeing the advance of the Red Army, Leni and her family survive on their wits, and she is transformed from a meek, cowed girl to protector. In the post-war chaos she falls pregnant to her Yugoslav boyfriend, marrying him in a bid to avoid the hardship she endured as a child. The little family migrates to Australia, crossing the war-torn continent, enduring the appalling conditions of Bagnoli transit camp and finally facing the enormous task of beginning a new life in an alien land.
'Researching her mother’s life after the death of both parents, Leni’s daughter Annette makes a startling discovery. With her dying breath, Leni’s confidante reveals another secret. A complex search that crosses three continents follows as Annette gradually unravels the web of intrigue that protects her mother’s ultimate secret.' (Publication summary)