I had the priviledge of meeting one of the authors of this book (Hildegard) at a Catholic women's retreat in Cullman, Alabama last fall. We got to talking about the atrocities women from Eastern Europe had to endure after the occupation of their countries by Soviet troops. My parents, Lithuanian refugees, were among the lucky ones who escaped their native Lithuania in time to avoid arrest, forcible deportation and/or imprisonment by their Soviet occupiers. They left Lithuania in July 1944 escaping first to what was to become (Soviet-occupied) East Germany. My mother told me they could not stop there however. The Red Army kept advancing west savagely gang raping any women they came across murdering anyone who objected. My parents were fortunate to make it to the American-occupied zone before the border closed. While not all of the women who wrote these true stories were direct victims of such horrible crimes, a number did witness atrocities many native-born Americans for years (and perhaps even to this day) had no awareness of. Some of these women writers did know what it was like to be forcibly deported from their native land, their occupiers robbing them of thier homes, their livestock, farm equipment, etc. Those who are familiar with world history and world geography DO know that in the time following WW II, lands previously considered to be part of Germany would now become part of other counties such as Poland and the Czech Republic, newly Soviet occupied territory. The women would endure terrible hardships, similar to what Lithuanian-born Barbara Armonas described in her book Leave Your Tears in Moscow.
Most of the women who wrote these accounts were born in the mid to late 1930s. They are ALL survivors, of one form or another. Some lost family members in the war. Others saw their childhood homes destroyed by bombs, robbed of their possessions, given precious little food and coming to know what it was like to be really hungry. Some were destined to meet handsome, young American soldiers who befriended them, provided gifts of food and other "luxuries" to their families of orign, fell in love with them, married them and brought them to the United States to raise their families in their new homes.
Personally I am filled with admiration for ALL of these women. I am so grateful to Hildegard for informing me that this book was about to be published. I had first become aware of what the situation was like in the eastern part of Germany after reading Jurgen Thorwald's book Defeat in the East. I was shocked to learn what German and other Eastern European women were subjected to when the Soviet Army marched westward. I have forever been impressed by the strength shown by those (like my own mother and the writers of these true stories) who survived such a difficult period in history. As stated in the concluding chapter: "....the stories graphically detailed in this book are evidence of an unspeakable cruelty of some individuals and governments, and the corresponding nobility of the human spirit in others. It is also evidence that some individuals persevere and do survive in the presence of great adversity. Hildegard eloquently confirms that these stories represent not just isolated individuals, but are representative of entire classes of subjugated peoples during this era of human history". I therefore STRONGLY recommend this HIGHLY IMPRESSIVE book.