Hiding in Plain Sight: The Incredible True Story of a German-Jewish Teenager's Struggle to Survive in Nazi-Occupied Poland

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9781575253497: Hiding in Plain Sight: The Incredible True Story of a German-Jewish Teenager's Struggle to Survive in Nazi-Occupied Poland
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It is 1938. Berta Weissberger, twelve years old, lives in Hindenburg, Germany, with her mother and older sister. Her father has already left for America, and the family is awaiting the arrival of their American visas.

These hopes and plans are destroyed at the end of October 1938, however, when Jews are rounded up, loaded onto trucks, and driven to the Polish border. They are forced to cross a river into Poland and ordered, "Keep walking and do not turn back. Anyone attempting to turn back will be shot."

So begins Bertel's six-year terrifying odyssey in Nazi-occupied Poland. While living a life of constant vigilance and fear, Bertel grows into womanhood. Again and again, Providence steps in and saves her, guiding her to the right person or place.

It is Betty Lauer's abiding faith in a higher power that enabled her to survive while hiding in plain sight, during the dark night of Nazi Germany, and to tell this remarkable story of great evil and of the nobility of the few who dared to defy the evildoers. An extraordinary story of strength, resilience, hope, and salvation.

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About the Author:

Betty Lauer was born in Hindenburg, Germany, on March 1, 1926, the younger daughter of Oskar and Ilona Weissberger. Her father left for the United States in March 1938. On October 28, 1938, she and her mother and sister for forcibly expelled from Germany to Poland. At the onset of the Blitzkrieg invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Lauer was living in Krakow. She and her family subsequently moved to Krosno, where they remained until the liquidation of the ghetto. They escaped, and Lauer survived the Nazi occupation under an assumed name and falsified documents. She was liberated by the Russian Army in Katowicz, Poland, in February 1945.

From Publishers Weekly:

Even if you think you've read enough about the Holocaust, start this extraordinary eyewitness account, and you won't quit till you're finished. Bertel Weissberger (now Betty Lauer) was 12 in April 1938 when her father was expelled from Germany and went to America. That October, Bertel; her sister, Eva; and her mother—along with truckloads of other German Jews—were sent to Poland. Initially, they lived as registered Jews, with special curfews, work assignments and food rations. Then came armbands, herding into ghettos and the "liquidations" of ghettos by mass executions or transports to concentration camps. Bertel and her mother—the Nazis caught Eva—got forged papers and learned to pass as Polish Christians. This was a constant strain, as IDs were continually rechecked and bounty hunters were always searching for disguised Jews. Fleeing a series of near-discoveries, Bertel and her mother ended up in Warsaw, where they fought in the 1943 uprising and were deported to an internment camp, along with Bertel's Polish Christian "husband." They bribed their way out of the camp to take various work assignments, navigated the Russian occupation of Poland, walked to Auschwitz to look for Eva and stowed away on a ship from Poland to Sweden, finally sailed to America. Beyond the incredible journey, this day-by-day account of a teenager learning "survival dexterity"—how to extract assistance from the ambivalent, how to sense danger in the slightest gesture—is unforgettable. Map, photos.
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