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Refugee: The Journey of an East German Woman (Paperback)
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Beginning with her childhood in the East Germany of the 1940s, we follow the author on her family's dangerous flight from communism. As refugees, they move from town to town in 1950s West Germany, finally settling north of Frankfurt, where Jutta spends her teenage years. After marrying an American army intelligence officer, she emigrates to Oregon, her husband's home state. She learns about America and its customs as an outsider. Like her father, she struggles with alcoholism, eventually finding her way to recovery. After remarriage in 1989, she finds refuge at home in Portland.
About the Author
Jutta Donath, born in the former East Germany, holds a master's degree in German from Portland State University. She taught German and English as a Nonnative Language (ENNL) at Portland Community College for twenty-five years. Jutta co-translated with Daniella Parenteau a book of Ingrid Gottschalk's German poetry--What Remains/ Was Bleibt. She lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon.
Through the eyes of a little girl, we see the world in postwar East Germany from an unusual, touching perspective. Horrors and fears like hunger, surveillance in East Germany, and finally flight to the West become real for the reader, but remain through a child's perspective beautifully new. Jutta lets the reader view a suspenseful chapter of history. Each stroke of fate makes it possible for her to move forward, and finally, the author takes us with her into adulthood. -Julia Gottschalk, MD