This memoir relates the early experiences of a Baltic German in Lithuania, where his father served as a pastor at German-speaking Methodist churches. At the outbreak of World War II, the Nazi-Soviet Pact allowed all Germans residing in the Baltic States to resettle in Germany. While under Soviet occupation, Germans from Lithuania were among the last to leave in early 1941 what most of them regarded as their Baltic homeland. From the perspective of an individual and a family, the author tells what it was like to be displaced from one’s home and temporarily resettled in barrack like accommodations in West Prussia and only slightly normal arrangements in East Prussia. He and his family returned to Lithuania in late 1942 when the German occupiers exploited the resources of the land, murdered most Jews, and discriminated against native Lithuanians. By the summer of 1944, after the war tide had turned against Hitler Germany, the writer and his family had to evacuate to West Prussia. Several months later, they were in flight from the advancing Red Army only to be caught under the brutal Soviet occupation in Eastern Pomerania. In 1946 they managed to escape to the American occupied zone and remained there until their immigration to the United States in 1952. Little has been written in English about the fate of Baltic Germans during this time. This autobiographical account relates personal experiences to historical events and demonstrates how critical the help of relatives and friends was for survival in desperate times
George P. Blum is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of the Pacific in California. He received his secondary education in Germany and pursued undergraduate and graduate studies in the United States, where he obtained his Ph.D. in German and modern European history at the University of Minnesota. He has written on the Third Reich, German social democracy, and Marxism for various educational texts and reference works. He is the author of The Rise of Fascism in Europe published by Greenwood Press.