Additional Resources
All of these books are available from Amazon.com either directly or from 3rd party vendors selling through them.
These are outstanding books of personal courage and hardship during WWII -- these are fascinating, well-written  and worthy additions to any library.
The Long Walk, Slavomir Rawicz. Cavalry officer Slavomir Rawicz was captured by the Red Army in 1939 during the German-Soviet partition of Poland and was sent to the Siberian Gulag along with other captive Poles, Finns, Ukranians, Czechs, Greeks, and even a few English, French, and American unfortunates who had been caught up in the fighting. A year later, he and six comrades from various countries escaped from a labor camp in Yakutsk and made their way, on foot, thousands of miles south to British India, where Rawicz reenlisted in the Polish army and fought against the Germans. This is one of the epic treks of the human race... history is filled with people who have crossed immense distances and survived despite horrific odds. None of them, however, has achieved the extraordinary feat Rawicz has recorded. He and his companions crossed an entire continent--the Siberian arctic, the Gobi desert and then the Himalayas-- with nothing but an ax, a knife, and a week's worth of food...His account is so filled with despair and suffering it is almost unreadable.
Gertruda’s Oath, Ram Oren, Michael Stolowitzky, the only son of a wealthy Jewish family in Poland, was just three years old when war broke out and the family lost everything. His father, desperate to settle his business affairs, travels to France, leaving Michael in the care of his mother and Gertruda Bablinska, a Catholic nanny devoted to the family. When Michael's mother has a stroke, Gertruda promises the dying woman that she will make her way to Palestine and raise him as her own son. Written with the invaluable assistance of Michael, now seventy-two and living in New York City, Gertruda’s Oath  re-creates Michael and Gertruda’s amazing journey. Gripping vignettes bring to life the people who helped ensure their survival, including SS officer Karl Rink, who made it his mission to save Jews after his own Jewish wife was murdered; Rink’s daughter, Helga, who escaped to a kibbutz, where she lived until her recent death; and the Jewish physician Dr. Berman, who aided Michael and Gertruda through the worst of times. Gertruda’s Oath is a story of extraordinary courage and moral strength in the face of horrific events. Like Schindler’s List, it transcends history and religion to reveal the compassion and hope that miraculously thrives in a world immersed in war without end.  Here is a link to a video of Michael talking about Gertruda’s Oath: 
German Boy, Wolfgang W.E. Samuel. In 1945 Samuel, then 10 years old, fled his home in Sagan, Germany, with his mother and younger sister, escaping just ahead of the Russian army's arrival. The author's memoir vividly depicts what it was like to be a child refugee (confused and frightened) in postwar Germany, constantly searching for food and a haven. Since Hedy, the author's mother, had been planning to divorce his father (a Luftwaffe officer), she refused to join him, but instead took Samuel and his sister to stay with her parents in the small town of Strasburg, which shortly became a Russian-occupied zone. Although the author had earlier viewed his mother as self-centered and unloving, he describes how his image of her changed during their years on the run, when he saw her make heroic efforts to keep her children alive. Attractive to men and clever, Hedy used her wits and charm, exchanging sex for food for her children. Their situation improved after the author's father found them and managed their transportation to a barracks in the American zone. Samuel's parents divorced and, in 1950, Hedy married a U.S. Army sergeant. The author moved with them to the U.S., where he completed his education and began a 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force.
And If I Perish, Evelyn Monahan and Rosemany Neidel-Greenlee. Their valor was unrivaled, their patriotism undeniable, but their contribution to the war effort was largely unacknowledged. Long before there were women in the military, flying sorties and commanding tanks as they do today, there were women in combat zones: more than 59,000 voluntarily served their country as U.S. Army nurses during World War II. Yet their story has seldom been told, for no veterans groups nor military bureaucracy ever claimed them. Witness to the abominations of the war's most gruesome battles, from the D-Day invasion of North Africa to the triumphant V-E Day defeat of Nazi Germany, they endured the horrors of the battlefield alongside their GI counterparts, eluding death by sheer luck and split-second timing. Forced to work under primitive conditions with insufficient supplies, they nonetheless tended soldiers' physical and psychological injuries with unflagging grace and unwavering dedication. Battle by battle, in vivid, newsreel-like fashion, the authors dramatically portray the heroic efforts of courageous women who experienced the war at its most horrific and heart-rending levels.
We Band of Angels, Elizabeth M. Norman. When the Japanese took the Philippines during WWII, 77 American women, navy and army nurses, were caught on Bataan and later imprisoned by the Japanese. The few who escaped were cast by the American press more as belles than as professionals who had held steady in their devotion to their patients and their country in the face of bombing, starvation and the gruesome injuries and diseases of their charges. A headline in the New York Times, for instance, announced that in Corregidor, Hairpin Shortage Causes Women to Cut Hair. The 77 women left behind never received as much attention, and Norman (Women at War) tries set the record straight about exactly what the Angels of Battaan and Corregidor did throughout the war. The book derives from interviews with 20 of the 77 nurses who were captured and is at its best when it stays closest to their words and stories. Norman makes excellent use of extensive quotations from diaries and interviews. Norman also captures moments of great courage, for instance, when a nurse refused an evacuation order until her superiors agreed that not just American, but also Filipino, nurses should be moved to safety. In one amusing anecdote, the nurses force a Japanese guard to shoot a monkey that has been harassing them and disrupting the hospital. But the true highlights come in the evocation of tears and sweat that went into the nurses daily struggle to maintain their tight community and their dedication to their patients in the face of overwhelming adversity.
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