Ballerina  Passport  High Park

dorothea klassen

Please select the country where your order will be shipped

Canadian Flag USA flag

For orders from other countries, please contact the publisher...

Two very different lives, lived in very different times on two continents spanning the course of almost a Century of change: Dorothea's story of surviving on the strength of her wits, her will and the ever present grace of her guardian angels is inspiring, humourous and terrifying, all at the same time.

This autobiography describes the life of Dorothea Klassen; a life of one of many women who were born in the first quarter of the Twentieth Century, who experienced a childhood of war and confusion, and the violence that reigned down upon their little village, upon all of central Europe, and beyond. It is the story of the miracles and many small wonders that helped her survive, brought her to Canada, and that finally made her a citizen of the world and of the Universe.

Her journey begins in a village in the eastern part of Germany, where life has not changed much since the Middle Ages. There is no electricity, water is pumped by hand from a well in the yard, the street is a dirt road, dusty in the summer, muddy in spring and fall and icy in winter. Her father, a master electrician, is an instrumental figure in bringing about modernization and change. Her mother, a former school teacher, provides a happy and harmonic family life in which she and her younger brother are lucky to grow from childhood into their teenage years.

When World War II begins, life changes; slowly at first but inevitably it affects her young life and alters the lives of family members forever. It is this first passage into maturity, more than any other that follows, which defines for her the instinctive choice between fight or flight, swim or sink, live or die. She chooses all three: to fight, to swim and to live.

Her ability to lead others demonstrated itself early in life. She was mayor of a village at age 20, outwitted bureaucrats and soldiers enroute to freedom, worked as a Red Cross nurse, plainclothes police detective, meat packer, Avon salesperson, special education teacher, elementary school principal, and, of course, mother. She did all this while engendering throughout her life the love and respect of friends, co-workers, and certainly, family. Arriving in Canada with no knowledge of English, she advanced herself through desire and education, and as witnessed by this manuscript, achieved a high level of proficiency in her adopted language. She began writing about her life experiences while in her 70s.

Dorothea is fond of saying, and singing, "I'm alert, alive, awake, enthusiastic." She is certainly all of that. Today, she drives a new car to visit family and friends, and at age 89, lives in her own house, with beautiful gardens and a fish pond, in Mississauga, Ontario.

Copyright © Dorothea Klassen. All rights reserved.