Obsessed with trees and Google Earth, retired teacher and pastor Ernst Klaszus spends a lot of time exploring German forests from the comfort of his Alberta home. His online travels bring back some unsettling boyhood memories — of marching in the Hitler Youth, of overhearing his parents talk worriedly about corpses in railroad cars, of seeing the city of Dresden be consumed by flames in 1945.
Ernst's grandson Jeremy, a journalist, decides to document this wartime story. But when Ernst becomes seriously ill, Jeremy is forced to make sense of not only his German heritage — but also his family relationships.
The evocative linocuts of Calgary artist Daniel Cristini help tell the rest of this powerful story, which won a National Magazine Award and two Western Magazine Awards in 2010.
Jeremy Klaszus's writing has appeared in many Canadian periodicals including Alberta Views magazine, The Globe and Mail, Reader's Digest and Fast Forward Weekly. He co-wrote a memoir with western singer and songwriter Ian Tyson ("The Long Trail: My Life in the West," Random House Canada) and writes a regular column for the Calgary Herald. Jeremy's storytelling has earned two National Magazine Awards and three Western Magazine Awards.