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Surviving the Gulag

A German Woman’s Memoir

Ilse Johansen
Edited by Heather Marshall
Translated by Hans Rudolf Gahler
Introduction by Michael Seadle

Canadian Studies, Holocaust, Biography

Published: November 2016
ISBN: 9781772120387
Pages: 176 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 22

It is getting colder and colder. At -38°C we don’t have to work any more.

Surviving the Gulag is the first-person account of a complex woman who survived five horrifying years in Russian prison camps: starved, beaten, and worked nearly to death. A story like Ilse Johansen’s is rarely told—of a woman caught in the web of fascism and communism at the end of the Second World War and beginning of the Cold War. Her candid account of her time as a prisoner, written soon after her release, provides startling insight into the trials of a German female prisoner under Soviet rule. Readers of memoir and history, and students of feminism and war studies will learn more about women’s experience of the Soviet gulag through the eyes of Ilse Johansen.

Ilse Johansen (1916–1995) was a civilian member of the German military in Second World War. After her release from the Russian Gulag in 1949, she immigrated to Canada.

Heather Marshall is a writer, editor, activist, mother, and grandmother who has always been interested in social justice issues. She lives in Spruce Grove.

Surviving the Gulag is an unflinching story of being a German woman in the very places that have been written about by so many men.

– Lolita Lark, RALPH Magazine