Elektrenai was raised from nothing in 1962 as "the Soviet Socialist Republic of Lithuania's first atheistic town", Smolnik is a medieval mining town in eastern Slovakia and Kudryavka is a forgotten little town of Soviet blocks of flats in the Ukraine. These three places in eastern Europe have a German dimension, past and present. Karl-Markus Gauß – the literary cartographer of Europe's unknown places – has been travelling in search of scattered Germans, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. He found them in beautifully untouched villages in the back of beyond, in bizarrely ugly towns and in vibrant cities like Vilnius and Odessa. From the German population of eastern Europe, which once numbered several million people, small groups have remained – their fate sealed by Nazism and Stalinism in the twentieth century. Karl-Markus Gauß has visited these scattered groups, who all live amongst other nationalities, and experienced amazing, sad and surprising things with them. In this book he tells stories full of melancholy and mad events, showing himself to be "Europe's best scout" (Die literarische Welt).