Did the Holocaust really happen? Seventeen-year old computer nerd Beth needs to know, so in 2017 she becomes her own avatar and time-travels back to 1945 to accompany her 19 year-old great-grandfather Sandy through the last five months of WWII. Ronni Sanlo’s new book The Soldier, the Avatar and the Holocaust: WWII Germany, Jan-May, 1945 is now available on Amazon. “The purpose of the book is to show a new generation of readers the reality of the Holocaust so that it’s not forgotten,” Dr. Sanlo says.
Seventeen year-old Beth, a talented if not strange computer nerd and secret avatar designer, hears anti-holocaust statements from her history teacher. She decides to send her avatar back to January, 1945, to accompany her nineteen year-old great-grandfather Sandy through the last five months of WWII in Europe. Beth and her sister have heard many of his stories over the years but now Beth wants, no, needs, to see them unfold with her own eyes. As a manga cosplayer, Beth dresses in her Beth America outfit and pushes the button. She meets Sandy on the ship as he sails with his 42nd Rainbow Infantry Division to Marseilles, France.
Sandy thinks he’s lost his mind when four-inch Beth appears in his jacket pocket and introduces herself as his great-granddaughter. Sandy figures war will do that to one’s mind but he hasn’t seen combat yet. Must be the seasickness. But, he thinks, if Beth’s real, at least he doesn’t die. He just got married to Lois back home in Ohio and has no children yet.
During their travels, Beth discovers the reasons why young U.S. soldiers went to war and how war affected them. She meets up with other avatars as they engage German teenage girls who suffered at the hands of soldiers, including German soldiers, when they entered their town in battle. And she watches with intense, painful horror as Sandy and his Recon buddies enter the gates of Dachau concentration camp.
Beth sees the Holocaust with her own eyes. She knows without a doubt that it happened and feels compelled to make sure other young people in the U.S. are aware of the truth. Beth transforms from being an angry student who is trying to prove an inept teacher wrong into a young woman intent on teaching others.
Ronni Sanlo, writer and retired UCLA professor, tells the story of the last five months of WWII through the actual letters her father, Sanford “Sandy” Lebman wrote to her mother, but from the point of view of a 17 year-old girl from 2017. The book is historical in that much of the story is true according to Dr. Sanlo’s extensive research. The part about the avatar, of course, is not. But could it have happened????
“The Soldier, the Avatar, and the Holocaust: WWII Germany, Jan.-May, 1945 is based on the letters my father, Sanford “Sandy” Lebman wrote to my mother Lois from the battlefront in 1945,” Ronni Sanlo writes, “as well as on research at the National Military Archives, the U.S. Army 42nd Rainbow Division archives, and visits to Dachau Concentration camp near Munich, Germany. The purpose of the book is to show a new generation of readers the reality of the Holocaust so that it’s not forgotten.”