Tuesday, May 10, 2011

you are safe here...



i only have one memory of my grandfather, anton. we were wrestling in the living room of his house on niles avenue in saint joeseph, michiagn. he was egging me on to wrestle, but being shy and very young i avoided his taunts but remember clearly the big smile and heavy accent that accompanied the moment. my grandfather died in 1983, much to early for me to have a deep or meaningful relationship or conversation with him. growing up he had always been a folklore to me, the stories that were passed around at sunday dinners were my childhood mythology.

my grandfather wrote a short journal when he was in a hospital in the 1970’s. it has circulated my family for years but wasn’t translated from german to english until recently. the first time i read it i was in tears, then the second time, and so on. this short book takes that original journal and turns it in to a story, where all the characters and events were absolutely factual. i kept as close to the journal as i could, even using word for word descriptions.

through this process i got to know the man, the myth, and the human that i never had an opportunity to know. i hope that you find inspiration in his words and hope in his survival, like i did. please check out my new title 'you are safe here...' online for free. it is a passion project, one that i am really proud to be apart of.

i am not an editor, and i do not claim to be a writer, i really wrote this for my family, but wanted to share it with you because i believe that we can take a lot of strength and encouragement by watching others succeed over seemingly insurmountable odds.

click here to read: http://youaresafehere.tumblr.com/

-stephen christian

23 comments:

Liana said...

Stephen;
Thank you so much for sharing your grandfather's story. I think it is incredibly beautiful and touching to read about his wartime heroism and the lengths he went to in order to protect his family and the other refugees. I can already tell that I will be rereading this sometime soon, simply because it is such a wonderful story. Even in the horrors of war, people can still hold onto what is truly important.
On a side note, the resemblance between Helen and yourself is absolutely uncanny, especially around the eyes.
-Liana

Anonymous said...

Just curious - why don't you like to edit your work or have someone else do it for you?

CCCP said...

this story is SUCH an inspiration. just even trying to be in this sort of situation blows my mind. it's really awesome of you to share this story of a true superhero :)

Hannah M. said...

As an avid reader of almost anything, this was super interesting to dive into. I love to hear about other people's family stories. It's true that we really can learn and grow as people, just by contemplating another human's journey. What a hardworking, determined man your grandfather must've been. And can I just say that the second pic you posted of your grandmother Helen, made me realize that you kinda look like her:) Thank you for taking the time to share it all with us!

Fram Valentine said...

I love it I read all of it in less then 2 hours. A big inspiration, do you mind if I translate it to Romanian and try to get it published under your name?

j.spratlin said...

i love this book makes me feel 'safe here...'

daniel mark said...
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daniel mark said...

it's amazing how much we can learn from (close or distant) others and what they've gone through to build us up to be who we are today. yes; build US up, if i may say, because down the line internal attributes have trickled. it has life make more sense even though we'll never figure it all out.

Joslyn Rae said...

so lovely!!

writers groups said...

I love it I read all of it in less then 2 hours. A big inspiration, do you mind if I translate it to Romanian and try to get it published under your name?

John said...

Lame...and....no one cares

Anonymous said...

lol

Hannah M. said...

Well some people must care , or else nobody would be bothering to read it and/or comment. This guy seemed to put in a lot of effort for it to be read, so at the very least, you didn't even have to bother reading the whole thing if you didn't find it interesting. But, hey, it's your opinion.

john. said...

finally finished it. really great and inspirational story. if you got it printed i'd definitely buy it.

The Outlaw said...
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Anonymous said...

Really????

writing workshops said...

why don't you like to edit your work or have someone else do it for you?

Anonymous said...

Boooooorrring!!! Horrible grammar, poor punctuation. F-!

tanyasaur said...

You and your grandmother look so much alike! I have truly enjoyed reading "You Are Safe Here".. My little brother is 12 and is fascinated by Hitler, Germany, anything WWII, etc.. I shared your story with him and he just LOVED it. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Haha WOW. The two people who commented on this post being "lame" and "boring," are hilarious! Stop embarrassing yourselves. If you can't read the story because it's a little too meaningful or serious for you, go get a hobby and a girlfriend and stop trying to communicate with people who have something important to say. Sillies. ;)
To Stephen, what a fascinating story. I think it is even more amazing that Anton's story is not the exception--there must be thousands of untold stories of those who lived during World War II and gone through similar struggles. It definitely made me think, "Man, what am I complaining about when I have to work for 9 hours?" I have a car to drive, a bed to sleep in, a hubsand to see everyday... my main concerns everyday are what to wear to work and what to make for dinner. These people went to enormous lengths to protect and be with one another--facing imprisonment, separation, starvation, and death. It made me realize what a brat I am at times towards my husband of 6 months. My love is frivolous and fair-weathered in comparison to that of Anton and Helen. It also made me realize that my commitment to God and my faith is such a joke at times. It's like if God doesn't prove Himself over and over to me, I'm ready to bail and attempt to do things on my own. When Anton was hiding behind a 6-inch-wide tree & remained hidden from his pursuers, he didn't scowl at God and blame Him for the complete misery and crap he had gone through; he thanked God. Anton obviously had a much clearer view of God's holiness and goodness than I ever have. He believed God to be everything that He says He is. That's hard sometimes. Anton's character in ridiculously miserable circumstances really made me take a step back and look at my life. Like you said, selfishness and pride are often excused as individuality and ambition. I think that even if Anton had the time/chance to be selfish and proud, he still would have chosen to put other people before himself. That's something I need to work on every day of my life. You must be so proud to have this hero in your family! Thank you for posting this.. and I'm sorry if I rambled people
-Genevieve

Anonymous said...

Genevieve seems like you took it rather personally that people didn't like it. Why assume that they didn't read the story? Just because you think something is meaningful doesn't mean other people are embarrassing themselves by not liking it.

SecretPlace said...
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SecretPlace said...

One of the most incredible things I've ever read!

I just have one insignificant question that's bugging me-- In chapter 9 the family works on a farm where they milk cows; then later in chapter 11 Anton can't work at a farm because he doesn't know how to milk cows. This didn't make sense to me--did he just not milk cows at the other farm? or was it a different sort of operation like they used machines rather than by hand at one or the other of the places? Some clarification on the details might be nice...