Escaping Hitler (Hardback)
A Jewish Boy’s Quest For Freedom and His Future
Reviewed in, Surrey and Hants News
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Escaping Hitler is the true story, covering ninety years, of a fourteen-year-old boy Günter Stern who, when Adolf Hitler threatened his family, education and future, resolved to escape from his rural village of Nickenich in the German Rhineland. In July 1939 Günter boarded a bus to the border with Luxembourg, illegally crossed the river and walked alone for seven days through Belgium into Holland, intent on catching a ferry to England and freedom. The outcome was not exactly as he had planned.
The author gathered her information through interviews with Günter, now known as Joe Stirling, and with those closest to him. During an emotional ‘foot-stepping’ journey in September 2013 the author visited Günter’s birthplace, met with a school friend, discovered the apartment in Koblenz where he fled following Kristallnacht in 1938, drove the route of Günter’s walk through Europe and retraced the final steps of his parents prior to their deportation to a Nazi death camp in Poland during 1942.
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"Using personal diaries and log-books preserved by the family, Barry Marsden has crafted a compelling account of Swale's life that is rich in first-hand detail...The book stands as a tribute to the Great War airmen, who continue to inspire to this day."Keighley News
read it in 2 days, electricAmazon reviewer
Very well researched book, on an amazing life, which started with Joe's escape from Germany and the awful treatment of Jews, to his life in Britain. I found the book very easy to read in bite sized sections which started with quotes from Joe mostly, and others interviewed by the author. I couldn't put it down.Amazon Customer
What begins with a harrowing journey culminates in an inspiring portrayal of one man's determination to succeed through hard work, civic duty and kindness. This beautifully written book emphasises the humility and dignity of Joe Stirling and walks us through his life with empathy and aplomb. I highly recommend.Amazon reviewer
An inspiring story beginning with Joe Stirling's walk across Europe alone as a young teenager and his new life in Britain. Refusing to let the tragedy of the Holocaust embitter him and ruin the rest of his life, he brought energy and drive to community and charity projects, becoming Sheriff of Norwich, and built a successful and respected business in the city. A readable book about a remarkable man, with snippets of life in Norwich which will bring back memories for many residents of the city.Amazon reviewer
Joe Stirling (a.k.a Günther Stern) arrived in the UK as a Jewish refugee, via the famous Kinder transport. This book details not only the amazing courage which he showed before escaping from Nazi Germany, but also goes on to illustrate how Joe faced up bravely to every single challenge which he encountered throughout his working and private life. Instead of wallowing in misery and becoming embittered by his experiences, he embraced life and love. He became not only a a successful businessman, but also something of a philanthropist, working tirelessly to improve and enrich the lives of others. I salute him! Thanks to Phyllida Scrivens for bringing this story to us, with such amazing attention to detail!Amazon reviewer
This is a well-researched and well-written account of the extraordinary life of an exceptional man. It tells the true story of Joe Stirling who, as a young boy, faced horrors and heartbreak and who determined to enrich his life and the lives of people around him through his endeavour, courage and generosity of spirit. Phyllida Scrivens deserves our thanks and applause for having captured this complex story sensitively and thoroughly.Amazon reviewer
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The inspiring account of one man's long life...Lion Magazine April/May - Margaret Kimberly
... This wonderfully researched book, including a 'footstepping' trip to Germany, succeeds in doing justice to a long and hugely eventful life - more than 90 years.
'Phyllida Scrivens tells this epic story in clear, precise prose, never missing a beat as the drama unfolds.... she has proved herself equal to the challenge of delivering top-class biography.'Surrey and Hants News
The author gathered her information through interviews with Gunter, now known as Joe Stirling, and with those closest to him. During an emotional 'foot-stepping' journey in September 2013 the author visited Gunter's birthplace, met with a school friend, discovered the apartment in Koblenz where he fled following Kristallnacht in 1938, drove the route of Gunter's walk through Europe and retraced the final steps of his parents prior to their deportation to a Nazi death camp in Poland during 1942.Antiques Diary, May - June 2016
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Fascinating biography.Lets Talk!
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'Phyllida can be justly proud of her work – it is a must read!'Norwich Evening News
'… Phyllida Scrivens brings the ninety years of Joe's remarkable life together in an accessible and entertaining narrative...'Suffolk & Norfolk Life
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'It is a fascinating, heartening story, shot through with adventure, love, loss and some of the bleakest and most terrifying events of human history.'Eastern Daily Press
'It's a remarkable story..'Norfolk Magazine