This is an extraordinary account how 7 members of the Arndt, Lewinsky and the Gumpel families managed to survive through the final and most deadly years of the Holocaust by hiding together from the Nazis. It is hard to imagine being able to go underground (becoming “U boats”) right under Hitler’s nose and against all odds, undetected for over two and a half years. This book is deeply moving.
The narrative involves three voices those of Ellen and Erich Arndt and of Ruth Arndt Gumpel and is based on their collective memories and transcripts of their journals. This is their stories and those of non-Jewish Germans who risked their lives to keep them alive during their perilous struggle to escape the Nazis. Exquisitely written with a smooth flowing prose, this fascinating and touching portrayal of the resourcefulness and bravery is not only compelling it also highlights the tremendous courage and stamina needed to survive the darkest days of Hitler’s rule. Not only the “U boats” lived a chilling existence in constant danger of being apprehended by the Gestapo or turned in by their own people, the basics needs of shelter and food was also a priority. Thanks to “The Righteous Gentiles” who opened their hearts and home and gave them food or ration cards at their risk and perils they made it through till the end of the war. To enhance the experience the author has added thirty pages of photographs of various personages before and after the war, some with their children and grandchildren.
From the first page I was immersed in the lives of these survivors. This memorable page turner and incredible story will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommended this book for its presentation, its well documented content and for the subject manner. Thank you for sharing these memories