Underground in Berlin: A Young Woman's Extraordinary Tale of Survival in the Heart of Nazi Germany (Hardcover)

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Underground in Berlin: A Young Woman's Extraordinary Tale of Survival in the Heart of Nazi Germany Cover Image
By Marie Jalowicz Simon, Anthea Bell (Translator), Hermann Simon (Foreword by)
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Staff Reviews

An amazing memoir that is somehow both terrifying and funny at the same time. Born into a comfortable middle-class German-Jewish family in 1922, Marie Jalowicz makes an extraordinary decision as a 20-year-old in Berlin in 1942. Being orphaned in the early years of World War II, she sees family and friends being deported and makes the decision to remove her yellow star and begin a treacherous period of living underground, surviving through her wits and the kindness of others, including committed communists and dedicated Nazis. More than just a wartime memoir, she brings to life the struggles of any young person trying to make it in the world, albeit a world of strange and struggle, and she tells her story with grace and humor.  ~ Mitch

— From 2015 Memoir/Biography


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 will act as spokesperson for the book.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316382090
ISBN-10: 0316382094
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: September 8th, 2015
Pages: 384
Language: English