This is the story of a grandmother, and what happened to her and to Eastern Europe in World War II. Following the tracks of his grandmother Cacilie, Cilly for short, into her vanished homeland of East Prussia and to the labour camps of the Soviet Union, Marcel Krueger has interwoven contemporary landscape and family history into an evocative travel memoir. Babushka's Journey is the record of his grandmother's journey from the snow-covered battlefields of East Prussia in January 1945 to the Soviet labour camps in the Urals, where she spent five years before returning to Germany.
Chasing the sights, sounds and voices of past and present along this route, the author has created both fictionalised historical narrative and contemporary travelogue, covering two different journeys that follow the same path. As he stumbles through the bars of present-day Poland and dreams on the bunk beds of the Trans-Siberian railway, Krueger forges an authentic retelling of Cilly's tragic yet hopeful story, discovering that her journey reflects tens of thousands of similar personal histories, which continue to haunt Germany, Poland and Russia today.