Escape From the Nazis by Johnny Dwork, Gertrud Englander, Bonnie Dwork
In the early morning of November 10, 1938, the Nazis dragged Otto Englander from his home in Stuttgart, Germany and imprisoned him in Dachau Concentration Camp. It was Kristallnacht, a 24-hour reign of terror during which 2100 German-Jewish synagogues, cemeteries, and businesses were vandalized and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated. That event also marked the beginning of an amazing journey to freedom for Otto, his wife Gertud, and their two daughters, Bonnie and Anna. As Europe teetered on the brink of war, they endured ever-increasing persecution, conquered overwhelming obstacles, and miraculously escaped the Holocaust. This book features the first-hand accounts of Gertud and Bonnie as they reflect upon their amazing, frightening, and ultimately successful Escape from the Nazis.
These are the stories of how my mother’s family miraculously escaped the Holocaust. My grandparents, Gertrud (Trude) and Otto Englander, and their two daughters, Anna Englander and my mother, Bonnie Dwork, were fortunate to survive. Growing up I knew little of their experiences leading up to and during the war. I only came across Trude and Bonnie’s first-hand written accounts when I was going through my mother’s papers after her death.
Trude and Bonnie never publicly promulgated their firsthand accounts of persecution and escape. However, given the recent global rise in xenophobic populism and authoritarian leadership, I am quite sure they would approve of this book as an investment in the prayer: Never again, never again, shall any human deny the Holocaust. Never again, never again, shall there ever be another Holocaust.
On Adolph Hitler’s orders, the Nazis systematically murdered at least 10 million innocent civilians because of their perceived “racial inferiority” or political differences. This included more than six million Jews as well as Roma (Gypsies), Slavic peoples (Poles and Russians), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, communists, socialists, and the mentally and physically disabled.
Every one of those 10 million souls had a mother who labored in pain and love to bring them into this world. And to what end? To be heinously tortured and then brutally murdered out of pure, unbridled, opportunistic hatred. How could such utter madness have existed?
Year first published: 2021