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How does a young German who has been a perfunctory member of the Hitler Youth and has competed in Nazi-organized athletic competitions become, in the space of two years, an 80-pound tuberculosis-stricken concentration camp escapee? In this larger-than-life memoir, Walter Meyer leads readers from one harrowing moment to the next as he recounts his experiences during and after Hitler's reign. After a brief membership in the Hitler Youth, Meyer rebelled by joining a relatively harmless subversive group that focussed its efforts on pranks against the local SS. During World War II, he was thrown in jail for stealing shoes, receiving a sentence of one to three years. The 16-year-old Meyer's refusal to conform to prison regulations resulted in his spending a good deal of time in solitary confinement for foiled escape attempts. Unbeknownst to his family, Meyer's fiery spirit eventually landed him in a Nazi work camp. Transported to Ravensbruck, he was forced to work under gruelling conditions in a quarry. He developed tuberculosis. Against the advice of others, he revealed his illness to the camp doctor. Knowing he would soon deteriorate and die in the camp, he again plotted his escape. This time he succeeded. Upon returning home to Dusseldorf, Meyer lamented the pallor that had spread throughout the town and the country itself. After recovering his health, he regained his youthful lust for adventure. Meyer began a whirlwind odyssey, ducking into train cars and stowing away on ships, occasionally landing in jail for travelling without a passport - from France to Spain, Belgium to Holland, and finally to South America - in pursuit of something other than the aftermath of war. Meyer's memoir gives insight into the climate in Germany during World War II and in the defeated nation after the war. His experience as a non-Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camps provides an enlightening and varied perspective to the Holocaust dialogue.
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
Weight: 268 g
Dimensions: 204 x 133 x 17 mm
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