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Siberian Odyssey of Hans Schroeder
- Narrated by: Timothy Howard Johnson
- Length: 5 hrs and 43 mins
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This is the true story of Hans Schroeder, a young German mesmerized by the Hitler Youth aura who finds himself with a SS Panzer division on the Russian front where he is captured and taken prisoner. Years later, he is released from a Siberian prisoner-of-war camp and returns to Wiesbaden, his beautiful German hometown. Those were years of great hardship in postwar Germany. Hans is lucky to find a job in Hans Wiegel's toy shop, falls in love with Eva, and eventually decides to emigrate to the USA. Hans's mother had earlier moved to America and her glowing letters fire up the young couple's dreams.
Hans settles down to an exemplary family life in Massachusetts, USA, until one day, something happens. Hans snaps, suddenly, and commits a horrific double-murder. During the course of his trial, his past experiences are exposed under psychiatric investigations, experiences that shed light on the dramatic events Hans was a part of while a prisoner of the Russians. Hans comes across as a conflicted, confused personality. If the narrative appears confused at times, it is partly because of the confusion that reigns in Hans's mind. His imagination often suppresses one identity to allow another to take shape and bubble to he surface.
As the story opens in the early 1970s, Hans is sitting in a Massachusetts courthouse watching the jury selection for his second trial on two counts of murder. The harrowing details of what follows remind us that the scars inflicted by the torments and excesses of authoritarian regimes never fade away. Seldom do the demons from one's past completely disappear.