WWII FACTS RELEVANT TO THE NOVEL

• 55,573 airmen were killed serving in RAF Bomber Command. Another 9,838 were captured and interned as prisoners of war. While most airmen were held in camps administered by the German air force (Luftwaffe) called Stammlager Lufts or Stalag Lufts, others were detained in more brutal conditions at Stammlagers or Stalags through the army (Wehrmacht).

• More than six million Polish citizens, or approximately 20% of the population, were killed by the Germans—half of the victims Polish Jews and the other half Polish Christians, predominantly Catholic. Another one million perished at the hands of the Soviets.

• Up to 200,000 Polish children were victims of the Lebensborn program. The Nazi government passed the children off as German offspring to demonstrate the racial superiority of the Aryan bloodline. Those who did not meet the stringent guidelines of sixty-two points of measurement were sent to concentration camps for disposal, usually by phenol injection to the chest.

• Eighty percent of the inmates at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for Women were political prisoners, with the largest national group being Polish. Virtually all of the women subjected to the medical experiments were also Polish. Reports indicate more than seventy subcamps attached to Ravensbruck employed women as slave labor under the Vernichtung durch Arbeit (Extermination through Work) program.

Bombed

German town, circa 1945

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