Nightmares of an East Prussian Childhood

A Memoir of the Russian Occupation


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About the Book

The mother of 11 year old Ilse Glaus turned down the last plane out of East Prussia ahead of the advancing Russians in order to stay back with her aged parents. That decision cost her family dearly in wartorn Europe, 1945. Ilse grew up on a small farm, with a wonderful family, the woods as a playground and the beaches of the Baltic.
Then turmoil followed the German defeat by the Russians and the subsequent occupation. In 31 months under the Russians, Ilse’s family is driven from their home, she mourns her missing father, witnesses her mother’s rape, sees her grandparents and baby brother succumb to the brutal conditions, and hears of her oldest sister’s capture and death in a work prison. Fighting starvation, Ilse crafts ways to coexist with the Russians, scavenging, begging and stealing to help the family survive.

About the Author(s)

Ilse Stritzke lives in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Bernie Stritzke lives in East Troy, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Ilse Stritzke with Bernie Stritzke
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, appendix, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7354-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0173-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments by Bernie Stritzke vii

Preface by Bernie Stritzke 1

Preface by Ilse Stritzke (née Glaus) 3

Introduction by Bernie Stritzke 5

 1. A Mother’s Regret 7

 2. The Evacuation 15

 3. Back to Palmnicken 30

 4. The Second Evacuation 41

 5. Omi’s Sacrifice 54

 6. Desperate Times 60

 7. The Commandant’s Assault 65

 8. The Statue 74

 9. Attempted Kidnap 80

10. The White Horse 89

11. The First Winter 94

12. Off to Goldbach 100

13. Then, Five Women 110

14. Three Dead Soldiers 115

15. A Stolen Potato 118

16. A Sparrow Falls 126

17. An End in Sight 131

18. The Expulsion 138

19. In Germany 144

20. Mutti’s Meltdown 151

21. Gerd 160

22. The Engagement 164

23. The Voyage 172

24. Chicago 178

Appendix: Maps and a Brief History of the Region 183

Chapter Notes 187

Index 191

Book Reviews & Awards

“riveting”—Canadian Slavonic Papers.