Flight to the East. With the Wehrmacht. To Brunswick. Hitler Youth Perjell. Leni. Otto. To Lodz. Into the Ghetto. Riding the Streetcar. War's End. Liberation. From Brunswick to Israel. Epilogue.
Solomon Perel is a businessman in Tel Aviv, Israel.
In this inspiration for the 1990 Golden Globe-winning film, Europa, Europa, appearing now in English translation, Perel details his remarkable story of survival as a Jewish boy during World War II. While fleeing eastward from German-occupied Poland, he fell into German hands. Amazingly, he managed to convince his captors that he, too, was German, though orphaned. The Germans accepted him into their ranks and sent him to an elite training school for the Hitler Youth until war's end. Though his story offers a vastly different view of the war, Perel spends less time on details of the Nazi regime and instead focuses on his fear of detection. The resulting repetition can make for disappointing reading. Perel's story is indeed incredible, but it is not that well written. Recommended only for large public libraries or Holocaust collections.‘Jill Jaracz, Chicago, Ill.
"The sheer emotion of telling the tale is palpable. The whole is moving, and strange beyond belief."--The Times (London) "It is a holocaust memoir that is moving, straightforward and quite completely bizarre, unsettling all kinds of assumptions about identity, responsibility, and guilt."--Glasgow Herald "An engrossing and memorable tale."--Jewish Book World "This book will move human hearts."--Berliner Morgenpost
Perel's involving if vexing memoir, dramatized in a film of the same name, deals with the years the author spent hiding his Jewish identity. In 1935, the Perel family, German Jews, emigrated to Poland because of Hitler's anti-Semitic laws. After Poland was invaded in 1939, his parents urged the then 16-year-old author and his 19-year-old brother, Isaac, to escape before a roundup of Jews took place. Soon separated from Isaac, the author assumed the identity of a racially pure German when he was detained by the invading army. So successful was his deception that the German officers permitted him to work as a translator and facilitated his transfer to an elite school for Hitler youth. Although the author was troubled by concealing his ancestry, he argues that he had no other choice. Perel was aware that his parents and sister had been forced into a ghetto, but he contends, despite the four years he spent living with German army officers, that he was unaware of the existence of the death camps (where his family perished) until after the war. Perel was later reunited with his brother and fought with the Israeli army. He is now a Tel Aviv businessman. Photos not seen by PW. (June)