Ruth Rathgeber

RUTH RATHGEBER

Author of Journey to Peace

Ruth Rathgeber was born in Kassel, Germany. After the untimely death of both her parents, she attended the Count Zinzendorf International School for Girls, an elite boarding school in Kleinwelka. When Hitler closed the school in 1937 she moved to Chemnitz and lived with her beloved guardians, Margarete von Halbig and her husband Arthur, a wealthy industrialist. Following high school, she studied textile design at the Textile Engineering Academy in Chemnitz and graduated in 1941.

During World War II, the government assigned Rathgeber to work as a journalist in Poznan, Poland. In the deadly winter of 1945 with the Germans facing defeat, she barely escaped death at the hands of the Russians as they advanced across Poland. Fleeing to Berlin she found work translating Allied army reports for the German News Bureau and then eluded the Russians once more, escaping to Bavaria where she stayed until the war ended.

After the War she worked as a translator for the International Relief Organization in Wurzburg, Germany where she met and married her husband, a Polish marine engineer imprisoned in Germany for his part in the Warsaw uprising. In 1950, upon receiving her de-Nazification and immigration papers, Rathgeber followed her husband to Canada. The couple settled in Montreal and raised a family while she pursued her artistic passions as a painter and writer, producing dozens of paintings and six novels.

Encouraged by her daughter-in-law, Rathgeber published her autobiographical novel Journey to Peace to set the record straight about what life was really like for ordinary Germans struggling to survive the Nazi regime and its aftermath. At book readings, she drew on her deep-rooted memories of those times to answer listeners’ questions and talk about such haunting experiences as being hauled before the Gestapo for speaking English while socializing with friends at a cafe.

Ruth passed away on January 6, 2014.