Mesa resident Inge Myrick, 83, paused while tears welled up in her eyes as she spoke of freedom. “It can’t be imagined what it was like. Nobody can imagine what freedom really means,” Myrick said as she recounted her journey from the Russian-occupied portion of Germany into the U.S.-controlled area of the country during World War II.
Myrick, born and raised in Germany, wrote a memoir of life in Germany before and during the Nazi regime. The book, titled “The Other Side! The Life Journey of a Young Girl Through Nazi Germany,” was first published in 1996. Last month, Phoenix-based Acacia Publishing released a second edition with more information and photographs.
Myrick is quick to state the novel is not the story of a Holocaust survivor. “This book is about what an ordinary German family went through,” she said.
Myrick said her mother favored the Nazi party to rule politically, though her father always opposed Nazi rule. She said her family moved several times so her father would not have to join the Nazi party.
As a child, she was oblivious to the changes in her country, until 1935, she said. She was 11 at the time and summoned to the school director’s office. She was informed Adolf Hitler would be giving a speech in her hometown and it was customary a young girl should hand him flowers before the speech. Her teachers decided she should be the girl.
“When my father heard, he could not refuse, but he cynically said, ‘I’m not surprised. You’re the epitome of Aryan.’ He was speaking of my red hair, blue eyes and freckles,” she said.
When the day arrived, she handed Hitler the flowers. “He took my hand, patted my cheek and that was it. When you were in close proximity to him, it was so overpowering ... he had some sort of spell.”
Myrick was 21 when the war ended and she ventured to live in the U.S.-occupied portion of Germany. She met and married her husband, Tom, then serving in the U.S. Air Force, in 1960. Today, she and her husband speak in schools throughout the Valley about the war and prejudice.