Escape, Evasion and Revenge: The True Story of a German-Jewish RAF Pilot Who Bombed Berlin and Became a POW
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As a 20-year-old refugee in London, he committed identity theft on Sept 3/39 and enlisted in the RAF using the name of a dead London high school classmate.
The object of a Metropolitan Police manhunt as a possible German spy, he flew 22 combat missions before his plane was hit by flak over Berlin and he was forced to crash-land near Amsterdam on Sept 8/41. His 19-year-old rear gunner was lost when he bailed out over the target and his parachute failed to open.
Taken prisoner by the Nazis the following day, he began 3 years and 8 months as a POW with no protection whatsoever under the Geneva Convention. Had the Nazis ever discovered his true identity, the consequences would have been unpleasantly fatal.
His time as a POW became obsessed with escaping, and he made 8 separate attempts, getting outside the wire on 3 separate occasions. On one of the escapes, he jumped from a moving prison train in a hail of Nazi bullets and went to his mother's home in Hannover to get cash, food and civilian clothing. Sadly, it was only then that he learned his mother had committed suicide just before the outbreak of hostilities, depriving the Nazis of their sadistic pleasure.
As a native German speaker, he rose to a senior position in the "X" Organization (Head of Contacts in East Compound of Stalag Luft 3), and was of significant help to countless other Kriegies in their own escape attempts (including Oliver Philpot of The Wooden Horse escape).
At the end of the war, he was one of only 69 members of the RAF to be awarded Britain's Military Cross for extreme bravery on the ground. Mentioned in at least 10 books about POWs and escapes, he was the subject of a file at Britain's National Archives marked "Secret - Sealed Until 2051".
After the war, he went on to serve 5 years as an MI6 operative, working against the Soviets in East Germany.
I'm very proud to say that the subject of my book was also my father, and he took all of his secrets (including the religion of his birth) to the grave when he died in 1979.
It took me 18 yeasr of research to piece this incredible story together. Read an academic review at:
More information at www.marchstevens.com and on Facebook.
Thanks for your interest.
I am totally taken!
ETA. I would really appreciate a signed copy (by you) Please PM me for details on costs/postage/etc.
I apologize sincerely if I have unknowingly contravened any of LT's rules or conventions. I have just joined this site and was not aware of such. I find it strange, actually, because there is no similar issue on Goodreads. In fact, they encouraged me to publicize my book (which, by the way, was published 5 years ago by a very reputable publisher). There are ample reviews available online to prove that the book is a serious and high quality effort.
Now, down to business. I am very glad to learn that the subject matter is of interest to you both, and that stellarexplorer has already bought the book. Thanks.
It's a shame that I hadn't found this site earlier, Guido, since I was actually in Melbourne on business in May. I get there about every 2 or 3 years. The book is available at all major online booksellers, but I am happy to sell signed copies as well. The price of the paperback (the hardcover edition is sold out) is CDN $20.00, and I will have to check the cost of postage. In my experience, it could be as much as CDN $20.00-$40.00. I will revert, however please note that I am just about to leave for an overseas trip this week, and may not be able to get this information before I go. I will be home again in about 2 weeks.
The basic difference between Goodreads and LT is that Goodreads has really become a promotional site for authors (likely because it's owned by Amazon, which obviously wants to generate sales), while LT exists for readers. That said, some promotion is allowed here, but within limits. Check out How Authors Can Use LibraryThing for more info on that.
And 2wonderY, I appreciate the sentiment!
The cost for airmail to Oz is CDN $40.00, and for surface it is CDN $20.00.
By way of introduction, I have added to my list of books the ten or so that mention my father by name as one of the most ardent escapers of the war.
I should probably also note, in my defence, that my book has 224 pages and 250 footnotes.
I don't think I have ever seen ALL the flags removed. Yep >16 2wonderY: Pure heart must work...
Please tell me how he relates to your Dad?
Thanks again, but you have me at a loss. I don't have any Ronald Searle books in my library.
You are a borderline case. But I DID buy your book :-)
In the case of my father, he was a German citizen fighting in the armed forces of Great Britain, and was not eligible for any protection under the Geneva Convention. As a German citizen fighting for the enemy (regardless of the fact that he was born Jewish), the Germans would have considered him guilty of treason, and they would have been within their legal rights to execute him.
But I also want to recommend an internet site within the Jewish Virtual Library on 101 squadron and the many Jewish German speakers who flew with them. Many Jews changed their names because the allies could also be anti Jewish AND also, some of these young men also nominated a different religion, in case they were brought down and movingly, a few made clear that if they were forced to bale out over occupied Europe, they were not going to wear a parachute.
There are further articles on the site to do with WW2 and they are GREAT reads.