Exile From Latvia
by Harry G. Kapeikis
Trafford Publishing

"We were in total darkness. The worst thing was that we couldn't see what was happening outside. There were no portholes in the destroyer. Mom was crying."

World War II has been the backdrop for countless books, movies, and TV shows. No other war has ever been as thoroughly analyzed or chronicled, possibly because no other global conflict has claimed as many lives or affected as much of the world as it did. Despite how widespread its effects were, though, the vast majority of the literature focuses on stories about the key countries involved and their citizens. Yet the tales from those hailing from the smaller nations which were unwillingly sucked into the maelstrom can be equally as poignant as those from the main participants, a fact that the author proves to his readers in his engaging memoir.

Kapeikis was only a young boy when war broke out in Europe, and at first his family welcomed the German invasion of their native Latvia as it would mean the removal of the hated Russian Communists. However, as the fighting escalated little Harij's family become one of several groups of refugees moving from one location to another in order to survive. Classified as Displaced Persons (D.P.s) after Germany surrendered and transferred to a camp near Augsburg, Harij's and other Latvian families gradually began to reconstruct their lives as they awaited resettlement. Despite the transient nature of his situation, life in the camp helped mold Harij into the man he would later become as evidenced by his moral and spiritual growth, attributes which would eventually serve him well as a Lutheran minister.

The author's well-written memoir is rich with both personal anecdotes and first-hand accounts of the war from a child's perspective. The book serves as an enjoyable and informative addition to the World War II canon.

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