Born in Brieg, Lower Silesia on August 21, 1929. Lena is thirteen years old at the opening of my story in 1943. She is looking forward to her fourteenth birthday and her confirmation. She is hopeful for work in a large department store in the town centre.
She knows that the war is not going well for Germany from overhearing conversations between her parents, but has no idea of the true seriousness of the situation as newspapers still pronounce only victories, such that she wonders if perhaps her father was mistaken.
Her first shock is when she is told that she must attend country school following her confirmation and that the location is far to the northeast and she will be there until Christmas. This is followed by a series of further disastrous occurrences. Her father is reported missing in action in September 1944, and she is told that she must return to the country school after a Christmas break along with twenty-nine other girls to clean and close the place down. In late January, they end up fleeing the school for their lives, under attack by air and ground.
Lena must experience more dangers and fears for herself and her temporarily estranged mother and siblings, before seeing an end to her trials with the reunification of the family in the west.