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

…by Fred Gross.

As the title suggests, this is a true story of the author and his family’s struggle to escape Hitler’s regime. The journey begins in 1940, when Fred is only about three years old – his family flees Belgium when they learn that the German army is approaching the area. And in the course of the next few years they continue to move from one place to another as and when they learn of German troops approaching that particular area, escaping just in time every time, with a few of close call situations when they end up spending time in a concentration camp and then managing to escape the captivity. After spending years in France moving here and there, the family enters Switzerland, where they get separated for a long period, come together only after the end of WWII, migrate to the USA and start a new life.

That’s only the gist of the story – one needs to read through the book to understand the constant danger the family was facing, the never ending train of pain they go through, the never wracking journey from one place to another to keep themselves safe.

Fred Gross does a great job of putting together the story by recollecting what little he remembers from his early childhood and by having his family (mother and two brothers) jog their memories to recall of their lives back then. The detail with which the author chronicles his family’s journey and about the cruelty his family had to endure won’t fail to bring out a few tears. Like any other story set in that era, this narrative of a family’s struggle against Hitler’s army is heartrending, but this is one of the very few stories that end with the family’s escape, so the reader is given a chance to rejoice their victory. Hitler’s atrocity will appall the reader, but the family’s escape will leave the reader feeling glad for the them.

Overall, a tale of strength, luck and hope, this book will leave make you both sad and happy. A must read.

My rating: 5*.

*for the rating scale, click here.

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4 comments on “One Step Ahead of Hitler: A Jewish Child’s Journey Through France

  1. bedazzled says:

    sounds like an engrossing read. will pick it up sometime.

  2. Swaram says:

    I think I will like this. Thanks for the review T 🙂

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