Ruins of Castle Hanstein near Bornhagen, Germany

Visiting the ruins of Hanstein takes us back to medieval times - Castle Hanstein near Bornhagen, Germany in 2012 More »

Vietnam War protestors demonstrate - Wichita, KS, 1967.

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Solingen, Germany after the bombing, November 1944. - Stadtarchiv Solingen

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My grandmother Grete with her sisters in the early 1920s in Germany.

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B17 Bomber above German Airfield in WWII

U.S. Bomber flies above German airfield in WWII. More »


‘Surviving the Fatherland’ Wins Annual ‘National Indie Excellence Award’

***More than 10,000 copies sold since March 15, 2017***

***#1 Amazon Bestseller in German Historical Fiction***

I’m humbled and excited to announce…


Contact: Annette Oppenlander/812.391.6310/


Local Author receives national recognition from the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence® Awards!

Los Angeles: — The 11th Annual National Indie Excellence® Awards recognized ‘Surviving the Fatherland: A True Coming-of-age Love Story Set in WWII Germany’ by Annette Oppenlander in the category of ‘Faction’ as a winner in this year’s competition.

This prestigious National award is open to all English language books in print from small, medium, university, self and independent publishers.

book cover surviving the fatherland by annette oppenlanderThe National Indie Excellence® Awards exists to help establish independent publishing as a strong and proud facet of the publishing industry. Recognizing authors that put their heart and soul into their work, the NIEA is a champion of self-publishers and the small, independent presses that go the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect. Established in 2007, the NIEA competition is judged by experts from all aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters.

Winners and finalists are determined based on ‘overall excellence of presentation- a synergy of form and content.’ Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953 and set against the epic panorama of WWII, ‘Surviving the Fatherland’ is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children’s war.

‘Surviving the Fatherland’ tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and Günter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author’s own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children.

“We are proud to announce the winners & finalists whose books truly embody the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you all for your fine work.” –Ellen Reid, Founder NIEA

For more information please visit:

Crowned Heart Review for ‘Surviving the Fatherland’ by InD’tale Magazine

I’m very happy to announce that ‘Surviving the Fatherland’ received a 5-star rating and coveted ‘Crowned Heart Review’ from InD’tale Magazine.

Here is what they said:

cover for surviving the fatherland with BGS gold seal of approvalLilly and Gunter are seven and twelve when WWII begins.  In this remarkable true story, these children are faced with the atrocities of war and daily survival, yet somehow, they miraculously maintain their humanity through preserving hope, kindness, and love.  As the war comes to an end their suffering is far from over.  Lilly and Gunter, along with all of Germany, struggle to repair their homes, hearts, and minds.  Even amidst the chaos and hate, Lilly and Gunter show us that love is still a force that can always prevail over the greatest of evils!

a young couple standing in a garden

Lilly & Günter

Ms. Oppenlander’s vivid writing style sweeps us away to 1940s Germany and takes us through a thirteen-year time span including post-war recovery.  This story, written in a first-person memoir style alternating between Lilly and Gunter, is immediately gripping, with characters so lively, the reader is engaged from beginning to end.

Often historical memoir can be stagnant with wandering scenes devoid of purpose.  Contrarily, Ms. Oppenlander is a master at seamlessly weaving historical context into the plot. The reader is given a clear picture of the broad events, while simultaneously holding one in constant suspense through character interaction.  Ms. Oppenlander writes in a sensitive manner, but readers should be warned there are near-skirmish rape and mob violence scenes, which might pose as slightly disturbing to some readers.  This book needs to join the ranks of the classic survivor stories of WWII such as “Diary of Anne Frank” and “Man’s Search for Meaning”.  It is truly that amazing!