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Birgitta Gottlieb McGalliard

Author to share WWII impact, POW dad’s story

ASHEBORO — Author Birgitta Gottlieb McGalliard comes to Asheboro Tuesday, Aug. 8, to share her story of heartbreak, reconciliation and endurance.


McGalliard is the author of three books detailing the impact of World War II on her European family. Her father, a German diplomat serving in Bulgaria, spent 11 years as a prisoner of war in Russia.


“I promised my father, who died in 1990, that I would make sure his story would be told,” McGalliard says. “After I retired from teaching in 2005, I started looking into it, and I had all of these handwritten letters from my father’s memoirs.”


McGalliard’s three books — Lives Divided, Years Stolen by the Russian Gulag and Across Borders Lives Changed — chronicle her family’s journey during WWII. Lives Divided tells of McGalliard’s family — her mother and three young daughters — struggling to survive in Sweden in the mid-1940s as her father was detained in the Soviet Gulag. Years Stolen recounts the story from her father’s perspective. And Across Borders Lives Changed tells of the years after the family reunites.


“Many people don’t understand what happened during World War II and what war does to families, how it can destroy things people don’t think can be destroyed,” McGalliard says. “That was a tenet I had in writing the books.”


McGalliard and her siblings grew up in various countries, including Austria, Sweden, Germany, Canada and the United States, always adapting to changing languages and cultures. McGalliard and her husband now reside in Boone.


She will share her story with two presentations on Aug. 8, at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The 1:30 p.m. session takes place at Asheboro Public Library. The 6:30 p.m. session will be at the George Washington Carver Community Enrichment Center (950 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Asheboro). Both presentations are free to attend, and books will be available for purchase. 


The presentations are sponsored by Friends of the Library. To learn more about McGalliard and her books, go to www.BooksByBirgitta.company.site.