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Babushka's Journey: The Dark Road to Stalin's Wartime Camps

Babushka's Journey: The Dark Road to Stalin's Wartime Camps
Marcel Krueger

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This is the story of a grandmother, and what happened to her and to Eastern Europe in World War II. Following the tracks of his grandmother Cacilie, Cilly for short, into her vanished homeland of East Prussia and to the labour camps of the Soviet Union, Marcel Krueger has interwoven contemporary landscape and family history into an evocative travel memoir. Babushka's Journey is the record of his grandmother's journey from the snow-covered battlefields of East Prussia in January 1945 to the Soviet labour camps in the Urals, where she spent five years before returning to Germany. Chasing the sights, sounds and voices of past and present along this route, the author has created both fictionalised historical narrative and contemporary travelogue, covering two different journeys that follow the same path. As he stumbles through the bars of present-day Poland and dreams on the bunk beds of the Trans-Siberian railway, Krueger forges an authentic retelling of Cilly's tragic yet hopeful story, discovering that her journey reflects tens of thousands of similar personal histories, which continue to haunt Germany, Poland and Russia today.

Author Info

Marcel Krueger is a writer and translator whose articles and essays have been published in The Daily Telegraph, Suddeutsche Zeitung and CNN Travel, among others, and who also works as a local Berlin expert or 'Spotter' for Spotted by Locals. Marcel divides his time between Berlin, Cologne and Dublin. He is the author, with Paul Sullivan, of Berlin: A Literary Guide for Travellers.


“Babushka’s Journey shows the effects of the terrifying last year of World War 11 on the former German province of East Prussia.  By reaching the past through a journey of his own,  Marcel Krueger discovers the extent of this destruction and what his beloved grandmother endured when she was caught up in it.  This book is a moving account of family love and the devastation of war.” - Max Egremont

‘Marcel Krueger tells the compelling  story of his  grandmother, Cilly, from her life on an estate in East Prussia, to the arrival of the Red Army and her captivity in Stalin's gulag. Krueger's tale is a voyage of discovery as he follows in her steps through contemporary Poland, Kaliningrad, and Russia as he seeks to recapture the sights and sounds Cilly experienced, not sparing the reader the horror and terror of Stalin's postwar internment camps.  The fate of the Koenigsberg Germans is one of the great untold stories of World War II. Krueger has chosen to tell it through the eyes of an eyewitness. We are in his debt.’ - Paul Gregory, author of Women of the Gulag

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781784538019
Publication Date: 30 Nov 2017
Number of Pages: 272
Height: 216
Width: 135
Illustrations: 15 black and white integrated illustrations

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