Synopses & Reviews
Bert Lewyn was still a teenager when he and his parents were arrested by the Gestapo. It was 1942 in wartime Berlin. While his parents were sent to a concentration camp, Bert's youth and training as a machinist made him useful. He was sent to work in a weapons factory. He received one postcard from his parents, then never heard from them again. Through a combination of luck and will to survive, Bert fled the factory and lived underground in Berlin. By hook or crook, he found shelter, sometimes with compassionate civilians, sometimes with others who found his skills useful, sometimes in the cellars of bombed out buildings. Without identity papers, he survived in part by successfully mimicking German civilians--even masquerading as a German soldier or SS officer. He had several close calls with the Gestapo and was eventually captured. But Bert masterminded an ingenious escape and remained free until the end of the war. Before World War II, there were 160,000 Jews living in Berlin. By 1945 only 3,000 remained alive. Bert was one of the few who survived.
BERLIN, 1942. The Gestapo arrest eighteen-year-old Bert Lewyn and his parents, sending the latter to their deaths and Bert to work in a factory making guns for the Nazi war effort. Miraculously tipped off the morning the Gestapo round up all the Jews who work in the factories, Bert goes underground. He finds shelter sometimes with compassionate civilians, sometimes with people who find his skills useful and sometimes in the cellars of bombed-out buildings. Without proper identity papers, he survives as a hunted Jew in the flames and terror of Nazi Berlin in part by successfully mimicking non-Jews, even masquerading as an SS officer. But the Gestapo are hot on his trail...
Before World War II, 160,000 Jews lived in Berlin. By 1945, only 3,000 remained alive. Bert was one of the few, and his thrilling memoir--from witnessing the famous 1933 book burning to the aftermath of the war in a displaced persons camp--offers an unparalleled depiction of the life of a runaway Jew caught in the heart of the Nazi empire.