Lena Kolberg was just one of the two million German civilians who fled from East Prussia at the end of the Second World War. She and her family left Memelland, the farthest province of East Prussia, in the bitterly cold winter of 1945. Letters from Lena is an eye-witness account of the hardships and horrors experienced by Lena's family in their desperate flight from the advancing Soviet army. Lena's words recall in vivid detail one family's escape in the closing months of World War II-known today as "Der Treck." Rendered in a personal and intimate tone, this enthralling book will give voice to those who have been forever silenced, as well as deepen our understanding of this dark chapter in modern history.
Elmer W. Ruhnke graduated from Miami University in 1947 with a master's degree in education. He later became a secondary school teacher in Baldwin, New York. Following an associate professor position at Hofstra University, Ruhnke was appointed district administrator for the Wappingers Falls, New York school district. He took doctoral course work at Columbia University and received his Ed.D. from the University of Sarasota in 1979. Ruhnke has most recently been an adjunct professor of history and psychology at the State College of Florida, as well as a public lecturer. He is the co-author of The Shaping of America.
List of Maps Preface Introduction Prologue Background Notes Chapter I: The Great War Chapter II: The Lithuanian Occupation Chapter III: The War Begins Chapter IV: Der Treck Chapter V: The Crossing Chapter VI: Escape by Sea Chapter VII: Refugees Chapter VIII: The Letters Chapter IX: The Rebuilding of Life Epilogue and Kupprat Family Tree Appendices A-F Concluding Thoughts Suggestions for Further Reading