In lands not my own: a wartime journey

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Random House, Jun 1, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 228 pages
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Reuben Ainsztein fled the pogroms of Wilno, Poland, when he was only sixteen. Matriculating at a university in Brussels, Ainsztein was again confronted with the virulence of anti-Semitism when the Nazis occupied Belgium in 1940. In search of freedom and a role in the defeat of Hitler, Ainsztein applied to and was accepted by Britain's Royal Air Force. Visa in hand, he embarked on an extraordinary journey across war-ravaged Europe, seeking safe passage to London. Ainsztein chronicles his stunning odyssey with absorbing detail and luminous reflection on the horrors of war and the unspeakable evil that was the Holocaust. Denied egress first at Calais and then at Marseilles, he crossed the Pyrenees into Spain on foot, and was immediately apprehended by Franco's guards and incarcerated in Miranda de Ebro, a concentration camp, where he was interned for fourteen months. Miraculously, Ainsztein survived and eventually made his way to Britain and then to Scotland, where he trained for the RAF as a turret gunner on a Lancaster bomber. In Lands Not My Own is one man's personal testimony to the horrors that gave birth to war and were nurtured by it. Along the way, cast in spare, elegant prose, are the musings of a poet and philosopher on the goodness of man, the nature of evil, and the moral underpinnings of humanity. With great eloquence, Reuben Ainsztein tells a tale of heartbreaking sorrow, unfathomable courage, and the defiant resilience of the human spirit.

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User Review  - atiara - LibraryThing

Could have used some editing, but I got the impression from the blurb that this was published posthumously. Overall interesting and a different escape angle than many survivors took. Read full review


A Romantic Prelude
Belgium in May
Boulogne in May

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About the author (2002)

Reuben Ainsztein was born in Wilno, Poland. After serving as a turret gunner for the RAF during World War II, he worked as a writer and researcher for the BBC and Reuters, specializing in Eastern European affairs. He was the author of two critically acclaimed studies on the Jewish Resistance: Jewish Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe and The Warsaw Ghetto Revolt. Married in 1941 to Pat Kearey, Reuben Ainsztein died in 1981.