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A Steuben Survivor’s Untold Story Revealed in “Achim’s Story”

A Steuben Survivor’s Untold Story Revealed in “Achim’s Story”

May 25
02:58 2024
A Steuben Survivor's Untold Story Revealed in "Achim's Story"

Step aside from the well-trodden path of war and historical narratives. Achim’s Story, a captivating historical fiction debut by Bettina Spicer Owens, plunges readers into the heart of a forgotten tragedy – the Steuben sinking – through the eyes of an unlikely survivor, Joachim Wedekind zur Horst.

Achim’s journey begins not in the trenches but in a gilded cage. Born into a privileged German family, his childhood is marked by a strained relationship with his mother and a life-altering secret that emerges as the shadow of Nazi ideology falls across Germany. Yearning for escape, Achim sets his sights on the vastness of the sea, much to his father’s disapproval. His unwavering dream propels him onto a path that collides with the rising tide of World War II.

Achim’s Story doesn’t glorify war. As a merchant sailor, Achim grapples with the ethical complexities of the conflict. He receives the Iron Cross, a symbol of valor tainted by the Nazi regime. It’s a testament to the moral tightrope many ordinary Germans walked during this dark period.

Fate takes a dramatic turn in February 1945 when the Steuben, a German refugee ship, is torpedoed by Soviet forces in the icy Baltic Sea.  Over 4,500 lives are lost, making it one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history. Achim, against all odds, emerges as one of the few survivors.

Achim’s Story transcends the trauma of war. Owens’ powerful narrative explores the psychological impact of surviving such a catastrophe.  Achim wrestles with survivor’s guilt, questioning his choices and the path that led him onto that fateful ship. Yet, amidst the despair, he finds solace in the most unexpected places: the unwavering camaraderie forged with fellow survivors and a love story that blooms despite the devastation.

The novel doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of post-war Europe.  We witness Achim’s struggle to rebuild his life in a Danish refugee camp, ultimately finding a new beginning on foreign soil – the United States.  This final chapter underscores the human spirit’s incredible capacity for hope and resilience, even amid unimaginable loss.

Achim’s Story is a captivating and emotionally resonant exploration of a life shaped by historical upheaval. It sheds light on the Steuben sinking, a tragedy often overshadowed by other WWII maritime disasters.  For those seeking a fresh perspective on war’s human cost and a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit, Achim’s Story offers a unique and unforgettable reading experience.

About Bettina Spicer Owens

Bettina is the middle child of seven, mother of two sons, a retiree from a highly successful career in information technology at LSU Health Sciences Center, and a first-time author who lives in the New Orleans area. As a child, she lived in New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Rhode Island, and Holland before her father retired from the Navy in New Orleans. Bettina’s novel, Achim’s Story, is historical fiction about Bettina’s German stepfather, Joachim Wedekind zur Horst, who loved to tell stories of his past experiences before, during, and after World War II. Joachim was a long-time resident of the New Orleans area and received his United States citizenship while living there.

The book is available on Amazon for purchase: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BBXFQ6TK.

Book Name: Achim’s Story

Author Name: Bettina Spicer Owens

ISBN Number: 979-8843447069

Ebook Version: Click Here

Paperback Version: Click Here

Hardcover Version: Click Here

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