Table 3.1: Latvian women's place of birth and parents’ occupations
US woman’s work in a DP camp and the stories she collected there (Hulme 1954). The woman is Katherine Hulme, perhaps far better known to a British audience for her later publication The Nun’s Story (1956) which was made into a popular film in 1959. At the end of the war Hulme worked as the deputy director of a displaced persons’ camp, Wildflicken – the wild place – built originally as an SS camp, although when she worked there it housed mainly Polish refugees. Her book entitled The Wild Place was first published in the US in 1953, and in the UK in 1954. The final source that deals with the same events is also a recent publication, Gunter Grass’s latest novel Crabwalk (2003), mentioned earlier, in which he controversially reopened an event that both the Russian and the Nazi wartime propaganda machines had successfully kept hidden at the time and which has remained relatively unexplored since then. This was the sinking by a Russian submarine of the German liner Wilhelm Gustloff in the Baltic in 1945 with a loss of somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 people who were fleeing the advancing Russian front. Originally published in German, this book had a far more significant impact on public opinion, in Germany in particular, than any of the other four sources, which remain little known. In Germany, there was a fear that Grass’s work would support a right wing revisionist version of the history of the Second World War, focusing on the suffering of Germans and that it might lead to new claims to return property abandoned at the end of the war. However, Grass disassociated himself from these views, while not denying the traumas experienced by the millions of refugees who left the Baltic States, Poland and Czechoslovakia after 1944. All these sources provide useful information to substantiate the narratives I recorded.