Paperback / softback
October 14, 2016
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
0.71 Inches (US)
.96 Pounds (US)
$38.99 USD, £24.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Surviving the Gulag

A German Woman's Memoir

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

"The terrified yell of my comrades makes me stop. I drop the potatoes into the grass and turn around. He has pulled out the pistol and is taking aim. Slowly I come back."

Surviving the Gulag is the first-person account of a resourceful woman who survived five grueling years in Russian prison camps: starved, traumatized, 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. The candid story of her time as a prisoner, written soon after her release, provides startling insight into the ordeal 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.

About the Authors

Ilse Johansen (1916–1995) was a civilian member of the German military in the Second World War. After her release from the Russian gulag in 1949, she immigrated to Canada. Heather Marshall is a writer, editor, and activist who has always been interested in social justice issues. She lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia.


"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." [Full review at]—Lolita Lark, RALPH Magazine

9781772120387 : surviving-the-gulag-johansen-marshall-gahler
Paperback / softback
296 Pages
$38.99 USD

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