Tale of a journey from war to salvation

Author Doris Platt, is presenting a copy of her book Belonging to the dean of Norwich Cathedral Jane

Author Doris Platt, is presenting a copy of her book Belonging to the dean of Norwich Cathedral Jane Hedges. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

She escaped the ravages of war-torn Germany, only to find salvation in Norfolk.

Now, author Doris S. Platt has written a novel based on her experiences and dedicated it to England, a country she'll always think of as her second home.

The book Belonging tells the tale of a German girl who is sent to Switzerland after the Second World War to face torment and prejudice, before being overcome by the kindness of the English.

The novel is based on Mrs Platt's experiences as a student and au pair, living in Norwich for four years in the late 1950s.

She said: 'In Switzerland the children weren't very nice to me. I was called a Nazi, although at six-and-a-half I was a little too young to understand everything that Germany had done to the world. But I knew that being German wasn't very popular.'

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When Mrs Platt was 16, her parents sent her to Norwich to study English, a prospect she felt 'abject fear' about.

She said: 'I was very wary of repercussions coming here, but in four years there wasn't one nasty look or remark.

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'I call England the country of my healing, I think you people are just awesome.'

Mrs Platt, who now lives in Salt Lake City, visited Norwich earlier this month, where she presented a copy of Belonging to the Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd. Jane Hedges.

She said the book was: 'Dedicated to the people of England with gratitude for their unconditional acceptance.'

After England, Mrs Platt moved to the United States, where she had a family, and later became special advisor to Eduard Shevardnadze, the last foreign minister of the Soviet Union.

She said she owed her personal and professional success to the kindness of people she met in Norwich. 'Because of the treatment I received here I began to think anything is possible.'

Mrs Platt said she was also in discussions with a film company who are interested in making a screen version of the book.

Do you have a story about a new book? Email stuart.anderson@archant.co.uk

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