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Survival: A Refugee Life

Born in Latvia, Fred Bruemmer experienced as a boy the evils of both Nazi and Soviet rule, the dispossession of his family and the murder of his parents by the Soviets. He was sent to a Soviet labour camp in the Ukraine, where he posed as a boy of twelve (he was actually fifteen) to increase his chances of survival. After years of starvation, mistreatment and disease—only one out of every hundred prisoners survived—he returned to a war-ravaged Europe as a DP (displaced person). Seeking a life far from devastated Europe, he immigrated to Canada to work in a gold mine in Northern Ontario. This was his first introduction to the North, and he quickly fell in love with the harsh beauty of the landscape. And so began what would be a stellar career as an Arctic photographer and author. Survival is Fred Bruemmer’s brilliant memoir of his years under Soviet oppression and imprisonment, his decision to leave devastated Europe, and his embrace of the North.

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