Against Amnesia: Uncovering My Father's Prisoner-of-War Camps
When and Where
Dr. Baņuta Rubess recently completed a book about the wartime experiences of her father Bruno Rubess. From 1945 to 1946, he was held in four POW camps. This presentation is about how Baņuta found them.
In my memoir, Bruno Slept Here, the gripping story begins in Nazi-occupied Riga, Latvia, in 1942. Teenage Bruno joins a clandestine yoga club whose teachings include astral projection. In the final months of war, Bruno is ripped out of high school and forced to join the Waffen SS, a foreign army. Catapulted into the battlefields of Germany, he escapes death thanks to his mantra. Bruno’s company of Latvians refuses to defend Berlin and they make a hair-raising getaway to surrender to the Allies. When the war ends, Bruno’s trials have just begun. Dragged from one brutal POW camp to another, the lessons of his gurus are the keys to his resilience.
The story of the repeated occupation of the Baltics is largely unknown to English readers, and the struggles of prisoners-of-war are cloaked in oblivion. It’s a history which my research is clawing back from disappearance. I’ll not only describe my process, but will also share excerpts from the book, hoping to spark a discussion regarding the dramaturgy of personal biography.
No RSVP is required to attend this event.