Behind Saving Amelie

Before I began writing Saving Amelie, Saving-Amelie-Book-Cover-250x374I knew that Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf detailed his early determination to judge who is worthy and who is “unworthy of life”—from conception to birth to old age to grave.  But, I was surprised to learn that the drive to create a master race did not originate in Nazi Germany.

And I was astonished to learn that much of the research for the pseudo-science of eugenics—defined as “the proposed improvement of the human species by encouraging or permitting reproduction of only those individuals with genetic characteristics judged desirable”—was embraced and funded by the U.S.  Sterilization was practiced in the U.S. before Hitler ever came to power.

The notion that one small group of human beings in our own country set about to determine who lived and who did not seemed impossible, until I began pealing back the layers, searching for the root of that desire to play God.  Presented in “scientific” rhetoric and in terms of compassion and political correctness and “for the good of society,” laws were changed, vast amounts of research funded, and power was wielded over those who didn’t know how to stop the giant machine of government and “science.”

Determinations affected individuals and whole family lines.  Human beings were labeled by their supposed intelligence, their industriousness, criminal records, nationality, race, and region, in everything from immigration quotas to sterilization.  It set our feet—and those of the world—on a very slippery moral slope, a slope that Nazi Germany snowballed toward disaster.

Saving Amelie reveals some of that story—in the U.S. and Germany.  I pray it raises questions and red flags in the minds of readers. Consider the rights and treatment of the unborn, the disabled, the elderly and infirm, the severely handicapped in our country and around the world.  Where do we stand on this moral slope?  I’d love to know what you think.

God’s blessings on your day,

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  • Hi Cathy –

    Wonderful, but chilling, post. I’ve read articles by folks who think abortion should be extended to the first two years of life. This may sound farfetched, but a lot of things we considered unthinkable a few years ago are now a reality.

    I’ve tweeted and shared this post on Google+ and Pinterest. I’ll also be linking to it on 10/10/14 on my blog.


    • Cathy Gohlke says:

      Thank you so much, Susan. Things creep up on us unawares and our culture changes daily, insidiously, to the point that we don’t see the horror of those changes unit it’s too late. It’s like we’ve become desensitized. Thank you for speaking up and speaking out! God bless you!

  • Airon says:

    Dear Ms Gohlke,
    I just completed reading Saving Amelie like an hour ago.It is a wonderful,beautiful story.I love the characters.Just wanted to say to say thank you for such beautiful novel.
    Yours Sincerely,

  • Peter says:

    Dear Cathy:

    You have written a very powerful and thought-provoking novel-thank you. I am not one who finishes a novel and in this case, I did not want the story to end. I couldn’t help but reflect on what I would have done in similar situations when courage could make a difference in saving another’s life. Would I have done nothing even though I knew I needed to act?

    I also want to thank you for emphasizing the role that Dietrich Bonhoeffer played. I wanted to learn more and am just finishing Radical Integrity, The Story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It gave more me to think about–again, would I stand up for my values?

    Thank you so much for making a difference with your work– Saving Amelie is a treasure.


  • Peter says:

    Dear Cathy:

    Thank you for writing another powerful novel. I just finished, Secrets She Kept, and found it to be as moving and thought-provoking as Saving Amelie.

    The Nazi’s deception and manipulation of vulnerable people with a promise of purchased freedom — I think the truth was too painful to think about. I asked myself, what would I have done? Would I have cast aside any doubts?

    The issue of keeping secrets that you so aptly indicated, “changes us at our core … and sometimes, secrets are not so secret as we believe”. The impact on future generations — the shame we carry as a burden that limits us in reaching our potential. This has been a personal journey for me.

    There is much to reflect on and I will be reading Corrie ten Boom’s, The Hiding Place, next.

    Thank you again for your gift of being able to share a story that will have a lasting impact, personally and professionally.


  • Diana Fil says:

    Thank you for these stories. As hard as they are to read, they really make one think. Which character would I be if life presented to me the circumstances each character lived through? So easy to say while I’m safe in my home.

    Much to think about.

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