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Underground in Berlin: A Young Woman's Extraordinary Tale of Survival in the Heart of Nazi Germany (Paperback)
A thrilling piece of undiscovered history, this is the true account of a young Jewish woman who survived World War II in Berlin.
In 1942, Marie Jalowicz, a twenty-year-old Jewish Berliner, made the extraordinary decision to do everything in her power to avoid the concentration camps. She removed her yellow star, took on an assumed identity, and disappeared into the city.
In the years that followed, Marie took shelter wherever it was offered, living with the strangest of bedfellows, from circus performers and committed communists to convinced Nazis. As Marie quickly learned, however, compassion and cruelty are very often two sides of the same coin.
Fifty years later, Marie agreed to tell her story for the first time. Told in her own voice with unflinching honesty, Underground in Berlin is a book like no other, of the surreal, sometimes absurd day-to-day life in wartime Berlin. This might be just one woman's story, but it gives an unparalleled glimpse into what it truly means to be human.
About the Author
Marie Jalowicz Simon was born in 1922 into a middle-class Jewish family. She escaped the ghettos and concentration camps during the Second World War by hiding in Berlin. After the war she was full professor of the literary cultural history of classical antiquity at the Berlin Humboldt University. Shortly before her death, her son, Hermann Simon, director of the New Synagogue Berlin Foundation-Centrum Judaicum, recorded Marie telling her story. He acts as a spokesperson for Underground in Berlin.
A Washington Post Notable Non-Fiction Book of 2015
"The most extraordinary memoir of World War II I've ever encountered."—Gerard DeGroot, Washington Post
"Captivating....Jalowicz's story is unquestionably tragic in so many ways, but is also full of miracles, hope, and a future."—Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
"Marie Jalowicz Simon transports the reader right to wartime Berlin. Even seventy years later, her voice is young, fresh, and gripping. Her story is by turns funny, wise, and horrific. I felt like she was reaching out to me across time and I couldn't help but fall in love with her. Despite the incredible dangers she faced living underground in Nazi Berlin, Marie's story is incredibly life-affirming and at times, even joyful."
—Clara Kramer, author of Clara's War
"An absolutely gripping account of one young woman's struggle to escape deportation at the hands of the Nazis and of those who helped her. Marie Jalowicz-Simon details for the first time with total honesty the harsh sexual politics of survival in the Berlin underground."
—Thomas Ertman, New York University, author of Birth of the Leviathan