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