Author's trilogy recounts life in war-torn Europe, escape to U.S.


Author and Los Altos resident Gisela Zebroski recently released her new memoir, “Selfie Sideways,” completing her trilogy “100 Years of Fortitude,” the story of her Baltic German family.

Zebroski is scheduled to host a book signing and discussion of “Selfie Sideways” 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Los Altos History Museum, 51 S. San Antonio Road. Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free. Books will be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the museum.

The trilogy begins with “The Baroness,” wherein Zebroski’s family navigates through the Bolshevik uprising during the Russian Revolution of 1917 in Russia and Latvia. The story continues in “Mephisto Waltz,” which chronicles the family’s escape to Poland in 1939 during the Soviet occupation of Latvia. In 1945, they flee to and reside in Germany until they emigrate to America. The story culminates in “Selfie Sideways,” an intimate memoir of Zebroski’s life as a refugee in war-torn Europe and her career in California after emigrating in 1954.

According to Zebroski, life is filled with kindness despite dire circumstances.

“My grandmother used to say, ‘The hard way is the right way.’ Had she not survived the Bolsheviks? My mother raised five children alone in war-torn Germany. We did not lament our misfortune but planned for the future,” she said. “We knew that we could get back to the good life taken from us by the war.”

Zebroski said she hopes her series inspires readers to seize opportunities and keep going.

“Success is in the eye of the beholder,” she added.

She launched her speaking career in 2014 after the death of her husband, Edwin Zebroski, a nuclear physicist and co-founder of the Electric Power Research Institute. While writing “Selfie Sideways,” Zebroski said she found her identity as a full-fledged American and independent entrepreneur.

Zebroski credits Toastmasters with giving her the confidence to speak in public. She has been a guest speaker at Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs and Sons In Retirement. In addition to discussing her first two books, she has delivered presentations on the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949.

To purchase Zebroski’s books, visit

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