Malta Library to host presentation on WACs and WWII

MALTA – In recognition of Women’s History Month, the Malta Library will host a presentation by author Cyndee Schaffer, an Illinois Humanities Road Scholar.

Members of the Women’s Army Corps were the first women other than nurses to serve overseas in World War II. Schaffer’s mother, Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, was one of them.

Drawing upon excerpts from Mollie’s letters written home during the war, this presentation provides a romantic, yet frightful, glimpse into the life of a woman in uniform during this crucial time in history. This presentation details Mollie’s experiences from basic training in Florida in October 1943 to the dramatic moment when the Statue of Liberty came into view upon her return in November 1945.

It traces the footsteps of the women who served in Europe, following Mollie and her fellow WACs who were stationed in London, England, before D-Day and during the post D-Day German buzz bomb attacks. The WACs were transferred to Normandy, and then to Paris after its liberation by the Allies.

After VE Day (Victory in Europe), they served in Versailles. Finally, they traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, as part of the Army of Occupation and witnessed firsthand the devastation of that country before returning to the United States.

Cyndee Schaffer is the editor of the monthly Midwest Writers Association newsletter. She received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Northwestern University and a master’s in curriculum development from DePaul University. In 2008, she collaborated with her 91-year-old mother writing a book based on the letters that her mother sent home to her family while serving as a WAC stationed in Europe during World War II. “Mollie’s War” published by McFarland Publishers in 2010 is the result of this endeavor.

The presentation will take place at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at the Malta Township Public Library, 203 E. Adams St.

The event will be co-produced by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, which invites Illinois authors, artists and educators to share their expertise and enthusiasm with people throughout the state, enabling local nonprofit organizations to present free-admission cultural programs to their communities.

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