I think about what I want and what makes me happy,
But orderly and quietly to myself.
Because my thoughts tear down fortresses and walls,
My thoughts are free.
-German folk song, author unknown
The beautiful, safe, joyful places in young Tilli's imagination were her only refuge from the bombing that tore through the sky above her during World War II. Her thoughts were her only freedom from Hitler's Nazi tyranny, and they were her strength to survive after the war ended, when Russians invaded her tiny farming village in eastern Germany; forced her into months of hiding in a dark attic crawlspace; and took her innocence, her childhood, and nearly her life.
Tilli's dreams-of a time when she could think and act freely, and travel, work, write, worship, and live however she wished-were what fueled the sixteen-year-old to courageously and single-handedly escape the terror of Stalin's harsh Communist rule and create her own happy ending in a free America.
This true tale of sorrow and terror, hope and triumph, is Tilli's story-but it's also the story of the unthinkable suffering and untold bravery of countless innocent children who have lived through a war and its aftermath.
A great piece of individual history from a woman who had some remarkable experiences.... Through this story, readers will come to appreciate more deeply ordinary citizens' experience of wartime and political upheaval, as well as the enormity of the decision to leave one's country and start a new life thousands of miles away. -Lisa Seidlitz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of German at Augustana College