Crossing the Eastern Front: The True Story of a Teenage SS Volunteer, a novel by Alan Stroe

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Kidnapped at gunpoint by a German unit from his village in the heart of Transylvania, a devout teenager is starving to death in a POW camp. The only way out is to join a Romanian Waffen-SS unit. As the Anglo-American and Soviet fronts grip Nazi Germany in an ever-tightening vise, the last months of war find him on the losing side, wearing its most hated uniform.


There have been countless World War II stories and memoirs, but Crossing the Eastern Front is in rarified territory, as few books take a look from the German side. Following the account of a World War II survivor, the story is about John, a Romanian teenager who was forced by unfortunate circumstances into the German army.

The unique perspective is only one facet of this captivating book. The story is gripping, brutal, gritty, and visceral. It sheds light on many atrocities, and the very harsh reality of war life is blisteringly vivid with the author’s brisk, engaging writing. John was a refreshing light of hope through it all. His steadfast faith in God and in the goodness of people kept him going, lifting up those around him as well.

The battle scenes in particular are spectacularly written. The action is fast and furious. I felt as if I were there with John, experiencing the sounds and sights, the terror and exhilaration of countless near-brushes with death.

This book is a rare treat for history lovers, and a revelation for those who love an unwavering protagonist that overcomes all odds to get back home. A wonderful, heartfelt war story. —Jamie Roland, Tiberian Press editor

Set against the backdrop of World War II, Crossing the Eastern Front is the evocative, coming-of-age story of John, a teenager from the idyllic hillsides of Transylvania whose world is turned upside down when the Eastern front rolls over his village.

As a kidnapped, half-starved civilian prisoner whose best chance at survival involves joining the losing army, John’s untested innocence is put to the trial. His strange new world is colored by a vast array of characters, ranging from the noble-spirited to the morally reprehensible—those in whom war has brought out the best, and those in whom it has brought out the very worst. As the fast-paced narrative progresses, pitting John against one tribulation after another, one cannot help but wonder: will witnessing the atrocities of war and drinking deep of its cold, haunting terrors corrupt him?

And yet despite the bleakness of his circumstances, John’s story is a story of hope. Of moral integrity and goodness in the face of destruction, evil, and death. Reminiscent of Dostoevskian heroes, his child-like faith perseveres to the end in the midst of adversity. This is also the story of the plight of a people caught on the wrong-footing of history. The book adds to the ever-fascinating tapestry of World War II chronicles a revealing glimpse into Romania’s involvement in the war, shedding light on the internal and external forces that pulled a peaceful people into history’s bloodiest fray. Crossing the Eastern Front is a brisk, vivid, and touching narrative—a must read for history buffs and students of human nature alike. —Clara Kristiansen, Tiberian Press editor

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