I've just finished reading another German YA novel. This one, again by Gudrun Pausewang, was first published in 1978. Auf Einem Langen Weg has not been translated to English (as far as I can tell.)
The book did become a German TV mini-series and was re-issued in 1996 with an image from the TV series as the new cover. It's the story of two young boys, separated from their family because of the chaos created when the German civilians are fleeing the advancing Soviet army.
I grew up hearing a variation of this story. My German community here in Winnipeg was mostly made up of WW II refugees.
The book reminds me a lot of the novel by Ian Serraillier, Escape from Warsaw (original title: The Silver Sword.) which became a British TV mini-series.
I asked a German contact whether books like Pausewang's are part of the German school curriculum. He said, no. It's also too bad that the children of German families in Canada have very little access to these books. It's their history, after all.
But I'm so grateful to the German schoolteacher, Gudrun Pausewang, who became the voice of these children's stories.