“Enemies in Love” by Alexis Clark is a novel about the unlikely love between a German POW and a Black nurse during WWII. This is a true story which the author pieced together from interviews with a son and friends of the couple.
Frederih Albert was a German POW captured by the Allies and sent to a POW camo in the Arizona desert. Elinor Powell was a Black nurse in the military during the war. Black nurses were treated as second class citizens by the military, much like the black soldiers were treated. Jim Crow was alive and well during this period of our history. It is interesting that Nazi Germany considered colored people and mixed race people the same as some Americans thought of them. Fraternization between the two races was highly frowned upon by the military brass and the citizens in general. In fact, the German POW’s received better treatment than the Black nurses and soldiers.
An unlikely romance blossomed between Frederich and Elinor. Before Frederich was shipped back home to Germany, Elinor became pregnant, had to leave the military and move back home with her mother. She counted on the fact that Frederich promised to come back and that they would marry. Some years after their son was born, Frederich was able to get a visa to the United States; they married and began life together. It was not easy, as mixed marriages were not legal in all the states at this time. The book goes on to tell their story.
Even though this book is supposed to be about love between enemies, most of the book details the treatment of blacks in this country during that time. I was not aware of some of the methods of segregation. Even though I did know about the Jim Crow attitude of white citizens, I was not aware of the depth of hatred and humiliation handed down to those of color. To say that this book was interesting to read is an understatement.
I received a complimentary Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com and was under no obligation to post a review.