The Note Through the Wire

Written by Doug Gold
Review by Waheed Rabbani

In 1942 Slovenia, Bruce, a POW from New Zealand, is at the perimeter fence of a stalag. He spots someone who appears to be an old woman standing on the other side of the single wire fence. When he goes over, Josefine slips a note through the wire into Bruce’s hand. The woman turns and runs, surprisingly “like a gazelle.” The note seeks information about her brother. Bruce makes inquiries and looks out for the woman again for many days. But she doesn’t return. Bruce cannot forget her captivating sea-green eyes.

A young and pretty Slovenian, Josefine had joined the partisans. But when her name is betrayed to the Nazis, she flees to work on her uncle’s farm in Austria. Bruce, after several unsuccessful escape attempts, is transported to another work camp in Austria. It would be a miracle if he were to meet and recognize Josefine again in Austria.

Doug Gold has written this biographical novel on the life story of his parents-in-law. Unfortunately, Josefine had tragically died just after agreeing to tell the story to Gold. Bruce had passed away some years earlier. Hence, Gold had to painstakingly piece together their story from various sources. Bruce’s military record was available for perusal, but Josefine’s partisan activities were shrouded in secrecy. Fortunately, the cache of Josefine’s and Bruce’s letters, kept intact in a box, proved to be an invaluable source for Gold. He used these as well as memoirs and recollections of fellow WWII veterans in reconstructing the chronicle. However, Gold also had to create events and circumstances as needed. The result is an exciting account of Josefine’s life in Slovenia, the shocking Nazi occupation, and the partisan activities. Bruce’s life, first in New Zealand and then on the European campaign with the ANZACs and the harsh treatment as a POW, is well recounted. An informative novel.