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About the time this book was published, a student asked me: "Is writing poetry different than writing other text?" "Poetry," I replied, "is very personal and in my case often spontaneous. Yet it also requires succincly expressing a view or a thought."

When I walk along and spot a beautiful view or flower, I may compose a poem right then and write it down at home later at my computer. If I write a historical poem, I will have already read great deal about the topic I would like to explore.

I hope to have learned from the Japanese poet Basho and my friend Howard Stein. Basho inspires short, succinct poems that make the point in  a few lines. Stein demands longer expositions that require several readings to enter all nuances. 

The hope is that I render the point so that it appeals in broader contexts. 

Listen to Rarely Heard Voices.jpeg
An Immigrant in the 1960s. Finding Hope and Success in New York City

This book may remind you of the City before the corona virus' reached the US.  It is a growing-up story in a world we seemed to have lost, but which is being recaptured as the crisis recedes to managable proportons. I was an immigrant at age 17 from Germany without the inhibitions that might have restrained an older person.  Unlike so many immigrants, I enjoyed several advantages: as a white European, I was invisible in a society often hostile to newcomers, I brought a respectable educational background, and I learned quickly how to network. Most importantly, I landed jobs that adjusted me to corporate America and allowed me to absorb English readily. Obtaining a PhD in history and economics was due in large part to the openness and ready support of those around me, including initially my family, and within months professors at NYU, colleagues, girlfriends, and supportive environments.  True also, salaries were such that one could afford to live and thrive in the City.    

Perpektiven Presse. $14.95

Hopes and Fears:

Past and Present

Pleease read what others had to say about this book; I am very grateful for their support.

"In his book of poetry, Peter Petschauer is an astute observer and chronicler of the human condition – from his family during and after Nazi Germany, to the frightening parallels between Hitler’s Germany and Trump’s America, to portraits of individual people ... and of the streets of Manhattan.  His use of free verse and narrative poetry take the reader behind Petschauer’s eyes and ears and into his keen mind and compassionate heart. Readers of Petschauer’s poetry will know the world – and themselves – differently from before they read his book."

Howard F. Stein, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK.


"Peter Petschauer is a poet of remarkable talent and range.  His topics range from the horrors of the Holocaust to the tender delights of being a grandfather.  The poems made me cry, made me laugh, and made me marvel at how skillfully he handles the joy and sorrow of his own life and the lives of his World War II contemporaries....  There is no sentimentality, no preaching, just the power of the best words possible chosen to paint vivid pictures of the human condition at its most raw and most beautiful."

Zohara M. Boyd, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of English, Appalachian State University.

"Being in the Past and the Present is an extraordinary poetic collage covering the hopes and horrors of the eras of Hitler, Stalin, and Trump.  It is also a poetical psychobiography of a an empathetic and special human being whose life spans two centuries, friendships that cover two continents, and erudition borders on being limitless."

Paul H. Elovitz, PhD, Historian, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Professor, Director of the Psychohistory Forum, and Editor, Clio's Psyche.

Hope and Fears: Past and Present
Aspiring Woman Artist in Weimar

A Perfect Portrait

A Novel set in Eighteenth-Century Weimar, Germany.

With this novel, Petchauer returns to an earlier love, that of the 18th-century German states.  People fought wars then too, but his novel, A Perfect Portrait, is not about war, but a young woman exploring her artistic talent.  For the most part, she did so in Weimar. 

She lost her mother early on and grew up the daughter of a carpenter/developer who supported her aspiration.  Like so many other of the women artists of her time, the marriage to a tavern keeper made things more difficult ... if it had not been for a nobleman who discovered and supported her. 

No, this is not the usual tale about nobleman meets commoner and after a twisted path, they lived happily ever after.  Or, after the twisted path, he decides to distance himself from the exploited woman.


Kindle at $6.99 or $7.12, if one uses a European server.

Five poems in a collection entitled:
Wounded Centuries:  A Selection of Poems
When I published In the Face of Evil and explored the lives of four women whom I call my mothers, I thought to have finished with the violent first half of the 20th century.  But for all sorts of reasons, many of us never are able to leave that unusually difficult time.  In response, I have written articles and poems exploring the impact of the NS regime on me as the son of an SS-man, on art, popular culture, and other aspects of life.  A few of these poems may be found in the late 2015 Wounded Centuries: A Selection of Poems.

(Circumstantial Productions, NJ and
Grolier Poetry Book Store, 2015). 
Available now at the store on Harvard Square at $16.00.

In the Face of Evil.

The Sustenance of Traditions

(Perspektiven Presse, 2014)

This book is about the women whom I call my four mothers. These were the women who influenced me early on in my life.  They stand here for all the women who were able to live their lives as best as they could and resist the ideologies of the Fascists and Nazis, and survive two world wars.  Even before I began to write the book, I composed this poem:


Three Mothers, Plus One

We all have one mother,

I had four.

All lived far away,

in Europe.

Two on farms, two in cities.

Each in her own way,

caring and courageous,

beautiful and strong.

The farm women,

steady in their routine.

The city women,

resilient in their ingenuity.

As one misery stepped into the next --

that’s how they survived.

World War One.

The Depression.

Mussolini and Hitler.

World War Two.

Fields churned, streets collapsed.

Villages and cities mourning their dead.

In graveyards, images of fallen soldiers

peered from columns and crosses.

And if that were not enough.

In our family,

mother, son, brother, sister --

gone forever.

When will it end, dear Lord?

When will it end?

It did.

Sadly, one died too soon.

Three lived longer than most.

In peace.

Having learned to cope all too well.

Petschauer My Four Mothers
Mutter Egarter Family
Mother's Family
Father and the SS

Der Vater und die SS.

Erich Petschauer und das NS-Regime

(Brixen/Bressanone: Weger, 2007) 

This book is about my struggle to understand, without excusing, my father, a first lieutenant in the SS from 1940-1945. 

(More than a decade later, in 2018, a photograph of the time emerged and the quest to understand the man and the time started all over again.

In the 1941 photograph, my father stands in the center, most likely not listening.)

Personal Rights in Human Space
Human Space. Personal Rights in a Threatening World
(Westport, CN and London: Praeger, 1997)
This book began in the international airport lounge of Charlotte, NC; a young woman threw herself and her tennis racket into the quiet space the rest of us had occupied for some time.  That intrusion led to the exploration of the interplay between our own, other persons' and beings' understanding of the space we and they are, occupy and use.  In the end, the book hoped to answer the question: How do insights about our own spatiality and that of others affect human rights.

The Education of Women in early-modern Germany

This 1989 Edwin Mellen Press volume began with Catherine II, the Great of Russia. She grew up as a princess of a respected famiy, and I began to wonder, after I had completed my dissertation about this astute woman, about the upbinging and education of most of the other women of the early modern period in Germany. 

I explored every possible source to be able to describe girls' and women's access to and experience with public and private schools.  Martin Luther in 1517 had recommended that all girls be included in public schools; this mandate in turn led to widespread public education of girls and women.  In addition to public schools in almost every village and town, private schools flourished especially in the 18th-century German states.  The usual conception in educational literature that public schools did not start up in these lands and Austria until that century is here finally put to rest; as is the perception that Rousseau had a major influence on the beginning of German elementary education; he did not.

German Women Education
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