While Elizabeth Wilms was very young, during World War II, her father was a prisoner of war, and her mother was serving as a slave laborer in the Soviet Union. She and her brother were placed in liquidation camps in Yugoslavia. But her family was blessed; they survived to meet again and later immigrated to the United States.
In Blessed as a Survivor, she recounts her life story before and after World War II. Six-year-old Elizabeth was an ethnic German (Danube Swabian) living in the former Yugoslavia when, in the autumn of 1944, the victorious Russian army first arrived, followed by Tito's communist partisans, who treated them to a horrific "reign of terror" In spring of 1945, Elizabeth and her family were expelled from their home and placed in several different detention camps, where they were exposed to sickness, fear, terror, and starvation. They saw death everywhere. She and her brother experienced long years of separation from their parents and grandparents. They narrowly escaped being placed in a Serbian orphanage.
Despite her lost childhood and dealing with many hardships that forced her to grow up quickly, she did not dwell on the past but instead moved forward. After arriving in the United States, she attended college and became a teacher-the beginning of a new life. Blessed as a Survivor shares a story of hope and forgiveness that seeks to offer comfort and inspire other people who are struggling and who feel very alone.
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