Saturday, March 3, 2012

Exploring East Prussia

If you’ve browsed through my blog, you might know that I’ve been exploring my mom’s life (1919-2011). My first book, The Kulak’s Daughter, was set in a part of the former Soviet Union known as Volhynia. This area is now part of the independent country called Ukraine.

File:Weimar Republic 1930.svg I’ve been working on, and revising, a sequel to that book. It’s also set in a part of the world that exists only in history books and fading memories. This is a place called East Prussia. When my mom left the Soviet Union as a thirteen-year-old orphan, she was adopted by extended family who were farmers in East Prussia near the city of Königsberg. Today, Königsberg is part of Russia and known as Kaliningrad.

It’s a confusing part of the world, and the 1920s/30s/ and 40s were confusing times. I’m a slow learner, but I’m gradually getting an idea of what life was like. The one thing that did stay the same was the people. Teenage emotions, human relationships, and ambitions have remained constant throughout time. So this will be at the core of my writing, even amidst the chaos of eastern Europe in the 20th century.

If you look at this map (Creative Commons, free download) - you can see that East Prussia is separated from the rest of Germany. Poland divides the two parts of Germany. This is why Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. This Weimar Republic - created after WWI - is the predecessor of the fatal Third Reich.

In this brewing kettle of trouble, my orphaned kulak mother spent her confusing teenaged years.

5 comments:

Jodi Carmichael said...

Gabe,

Your writing is reflecting your true grasp of this area and the feelings and emotions of the time.

An honor being in The Anitas with you.

Jodi

Gabriele Goldstone said...

Thanks, Jodi.

I sometimes drag myself down with these dark stories. The Anitas brighten my life and I love how everyone is writing something different and yet we all connect!

Pawlina said...

I so admire anyone who can write about life's tragedies and turn them into inspiring stories.

Thank you for writing yours.

Looking forward to reading Kulak's Daughter ... and the sequel.

Pawlina said...

I so admire writers who take life's tragedies and turn them into inspiring stories.

Thank you for doing it.

Looking forward to reading Kulak's Daughter ... and the sequel.

Gabriele Goldstone said...

Appreciate your comment, Pawlina. Let me know if you have issues with finding The Kulak's Daughter.