In Lands Not My Own: A Wartime Journey

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Random House, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 228 pages
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Told with an eloquence reminiscent of Conrad, here is a tale of heartbreaking sorrow, unfathomable courage, and the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit.His name was Reuben Ainsztein and he fled the pogroms of Wilno, Poland, when he was sixteen. Matriculating at a university in Brussels, Ainsztein was again confronted with persecution when the Nazis occupied Belgium in 1940. Seeking freedom for himself and a role in the defeat of Hitler, Ainsztein applied to and was accepted by Britain's RAF. Visa in hand, he embarked on an extraordinary journey across war-ravaged Europe, seeking safe passage to London.Ainsztein chronicles his stunning flight across Europe with absorbing detail and luminous reflection on the horrors of war and 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, he survived the camp and eventually made his way to Britain and then to Scotland, where he trained as a turret gunner on a Lancaster bomber for the RAF.In Lands Not My Own is the story of one man's journey across war-torn Europe and his personal testimony to the horrors that give birth to war and are nurtured by it. Along the way are the musings of a poet and philosopher on the goodness of man, the nature of evil, and the moral underpinnings of hu

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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.

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