Margaret Smolik: Account of her family’s flight from WWII Europe inspires others

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press  publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Margaret Smolik; author of  “Like a Haystack: Life From My Perspective.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

smolik authorOne’s past, one’s life experiences from birth to the present, make us who we are. That is so important because it affects how we relate to each other and interact in all aspects of a relationships. It is probably the lack of that knowledge that causes much of the friction among people and wastes a lot of time and energy that could and should be used in more constructive ways.

Picture of Margaret, likely taken before her family fled Austria.

Picture of Margaret, likely taken before her family fled Austria.

The thoughts expressed above are from a long-time friend who did not know
until recently about my background as a WWII refugee and immigrant to the United States. Most of my friends did not know until I wrote Like A Haystack: Life From My Perspective, a memoir about my family’s roots in Croatia, the challenges we faced during the war, our years in Austria, and our coming to America.

Margaret (top left) and her family in Austria.

Margaret (top left) and her family in Austria.

The response has been heartwarming and sometimes overwhelming. Manyreaders comment that reading the book made them realize what wonderful lives we live in the United States. We have not had to leave everything behind and flee from our homes not knowing what the next day would bring much less see falling bombs and the destruction of warfare. Perhaps the readers who know me personally understand me better and have a deeper insight into my personality.

smolik coverAnother friend wrote the following: “What an inspiration you are to many. Having read your book, I am amazed by how you moved forward to make a positive mark on this world despite the harsh realities your family endured so many years ago. Our country is blessed to have you. Be proud of yourself.”

What a blessing comments like these have been to me. They have given me validation and courage to be more open and willing to share. I hope I continue to affect people in positive ways by increasing their understanding of refugees and immigrants and encouraging them to reach out with acceptance and peace.


WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


    1. Lamont,
      Just today I learned with the help of Maurice Broaddus that you had posted a comment about my memoir. Thank you so much. I truly appreciated your help…I think you kept me sane. You are easy to work with and very supportive. God bless you.


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