by Freddie Knoller
and John Landaw
Metro Publishing Ltd
ISBN 1-84358-028-4 Price: £17.99
was an ordinary Viennese schoolboy when, on the 9th November
1938, a hurried telephone call from a friend warned his family.
The Polnische Tempel is on fire! Soon his apartment
building was full of Brownshirts. There was a scream and a
neighbour plunged to his death in the courtyard below. From
that night Freddies life, like the life of every other
Jew, changed forever.
David and Marja
Knoller made arrangements for their three sons to leave Austria.
Freddie, a mothers boy, fled the advancing German invasion
and began a journey which was to lead him from Vienna to Belgium
to Vichy France, and from there back into danger because,
in an act of foolhardiness inexplicable even to himself, and
with only a badly forged set of papers, he journeyed to Paris,
the city of his dreams but now under occupation.
But somehow, the
naïve schoolboy not only survived in occupied Paris
he flourished. Passing himself off as a loyal Aryan from Alsace,
he lived by escorting Nazi soldiers around the red-light district,
growing in confidence as he pocketed commissions, wheeling
luck ran out. Following a brush with the Gestapo, he left
Paris and joined the Resistance but was eventually arrested.
He survived Auschwitz
and the Death March and endured several months in Dora-Nordhausen
before being liberated from Belsen in April 1945, two days
before his twenty-fourth birthday. He was later reunited with
of Freddie Knoller was published in brief in The Scribe
issue No. 72 of September 1999 (see
article). Apparently, this acted as an incentive
to publish the full story of what he went through in the seven
years from 1938 to 1945.
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