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Escape, Evasion and Revenge (ePub)

The True Story of a German-Jewish RAF Pilot who Bombed Berlin and Became a POW

Aviation Military > Prisoners of War WWII

By Marc H Stevens
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 7.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 45 black and white illustrations plus 1 map
ISBN: 9781848849846
Published: 27th July 2011


£6.99 Print price £12.99

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In the press

Included in Jonas Jonasson's list of 'Top 10 books about revenge' via The Guardian, April 2021.

Featured in this Daily Mail article: Son is stunned to discover his war hero father was actually a German-born Jew whose time as a POW inspired character in The Great Escape.

Also covered in The Times.

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Peter Stevens was a German-Jewish refugee who escaped Nazi persecution as a teenager in 1933. He joined the RAF in 1939 and after eighteen months of pilot training he started flying bombing missions against his own country. He completed twenty-two missions before being shot down and taken prisoner by the Nazis in September 1941. To escape became his raison d'être and his great advantage was that he was in his native country. He was recaptured after each of his several escapes, but the Nazis never realised his true identity. He took part in the logistics and planning of several major breakouts, including The Great Escape, but was never successful in getting back to England. After liberation, when the true nature of his exploits came to light, he was awarded the Military Cross. He then served as a British spy at the beginning of the Cold War before emigrating to Canada to resume a normal life.

This is the story of a heavily conflicted young man, alone in a world that is in the midst of destruction. He is afforded an opportunity to help his persecuted people to obtain a small measure of revenge. It is at once a sad yet uplifting tale of thankless and unheralded heroism.

As featured in

The Times 30/3/20

Article: Peter Stevens, history of the German Jew who bombed Berlin as featured by

Berlino magazine, 21st November 2018 – words by Stephen Badmus

The true story of the remarkable man who inspired a Character in The Great Escape film as told by his son.

The Daily Express 7/3/16

As featured in.

The Daily Mail

As featured in.

The Times

While researching a book on the Great Escape years ago, I occasionally came across the name Peter Stevens in memoirs and interviews. There were mentions that he was actually a German Jew serving in the RAF under an assumed name, but no hard evidence that this was anything but a presumption. Not until I read Marc Steven’s fascinating biography on his father did I learn the full story.
And it is a remarkable story.
So much could have gone wrong with a biography written on these terms, but Marc Stevens has succeeded admirably. This is not a rose-tinted hagiography by an awe stuck son; rather, it is a judicious and even- handed – “warts and all,” to use the cliché. Stevens was a remarkable man, but in some ways, not a very likeable man. He stole, and then wasted, the last of his mother’s money, which had been sent to Britain to established the three children. When that money was gone, he dabbled in petty crime and eventually landed in jail after being convicted of theft.
But he was never short on courage, and here the depth of the authors research helps him to recreate the very difficult early days of Bomber Command, when accuracy was low, casualties were high, and air crew were overworked.
This is a wartime career that would make any son proud, but Steven’s real triumph is in writing a biography that will satisfy the most discerning historian.

National Defence Journal, Canada
 Marc H Stevens

About Marc H Stevens

Marc Stevens was born in Montreal, Canada, but grew up between Ottawa and Toronto. He has spent thirty years working in the wholesale food industry. Bitten at a young age by the travel bug, he has visited about 60 countries and all 7 continents.

Marc's father (Squadron Leader Peter Stevens MC) died in 1979, when Marc was in his early 20's. About seven years later, Marc decided to try and discover exactly what his father had done during World War 2 to be awarded the Military Cross, a very rare honour for a member of the Royal Air Force.

Eighteen years of research, off and on, slowly allowed Marc to piece together an unique and fantastic tale, of the only German Jew known to have piloted RAF bombers against his homeland. As a German living in London at the outbreak of war, Marc's father committed identity theft in order to enlist in the RAF, and was the object of a Metropolitan Police manhunt as a potential enemy spy.

After locating and finally obtaining access to a Home Office file marked "Secret - Sealed until 2051", Marc decided that a book would have to be written, and so followed 'Escape, Evasion and Revenge: The True Story of a German-Jewish RAF Pilot Who Bombed Berlin and Became a POW'.

Neither Marc, nor anyone else in his immediate family, had known of his father's Jewish origins. As a POW in his own country for three years and eight months, Peter Stevens was without any protection whatsoever under the Geneva Convention. Had the Nazis ever discovered his true identity, the consequences would have been unpleasantly fatal. Nonetheless, Peter Stevens made eight escape attempts, getting outside the wire on three occasions.

After the war, Peter Stevens spent five years as an MI6 operative in Germany, spying against the Russians at the height of the Cold War.

Marc is understandably proud of his father's accomplishments, and only wishes he could have known of them while his father was still alive.

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