One Step Ahead of Hitler: A Jewish Child's Journey Through France

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Mercer University Press, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 213 pages
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Fred Gross knew much about the history of the Holocaust, but he didn't know his own, being a young Jewish child during those terrible years. In the late 1980s, he asked his mother to tell him the story of his family's flight from the German invasion of Belgium and the Nazi policies that would become the Holocaust. Later, his two older brothers added their memories. But this story is not simply an account of the years spent one step ahead of Hitler. It is about a little boy then grown man coming to know his own story and realizing the tenuousness of memory. Most of the Grosses' flight takes place in France during its defeat and collaboration with the Nazis, rounding up more than 75,000 Jews for deportation to the death camps. Gross and his family made it through these anguished years because of their fortitude and ingenuity and the help of brave men and women of other faiths, reverently referred to as The Righteous Among the Nations, who risked their lives standing up to their collaborationist government. One Step Ahead of Hitler is a story of survival told in words and in photographs of a journey beginning in Antwerp and ending with his freedom in America. "It is an important memoir," David P. Gushee, Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University and author of Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, writes in the foreword. "Some of the most shameful moments of German, French, Swiss-and human-history are recorded here, not for the first time, but in a deeply personal way by someone who experienced their effects as a small child."
 

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Contents

Hitler Invades My Home
1
The Way We Remember Ourselves
12
Escaping Antwerp
19
Nachas Earlier Journeys
29
The Nazi Luftwaffe Attacks Us on the Road
35
Max and His Family
43
On the Run in Northern France
57
Visiting Aunt Hedwig in Paris
62
Safety in the French Riviera
117
The Italians Protect Us from the French Police
125
Sam Escapes to Portugal
131
Sitting Tight in Nice
135
The Roundup Begins
138
A Catholic Family Hides Us
144
Uncle Emil Aids in Our Escape
153
Witness at the Swiss Border
161

Fleeing to Bordeaux
66
A Farmer Hides Us in His Barn
75
France Collaborates with Hitler
79
Taken to Gurs Concentration Camp
81
Hiding in an Abandoned Castle
98
Vichy Frances AntiJewish Laws
104
Switzerland is also a Prison
165
My Swiss Family
170
The Final Step
181
Conclusion
196
Copyright

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