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Escape, Evasion and Revenge: The True Story of a German-Jewish RAF Pilot Who Bombed Berlin and Became a PoW Hardcover – March 10, 2010
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This book tells a truly remarkable story. To his family in post-war Canada Peter Stevens was a war hero, a member of RAF bomber command, and a prisoner of war who had been familiar with --historyofwar.org/bookpage/stevens_escape_evasion_revenge.html
What a great story. I wonder though what it felt like to be dropping bombs onto his own people, that surely had to be hard to deal with. A very interesting story and he was lucky --goldwingfacts.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=93005&forum_id=3
Marc Stevens enriches the ever-growing archive of historical evidence in the form of biography that is essential to preserving the memory of men like Peter Stevens --jewishjournal.com/twelve_twelve/article/a_jew_who_fought_the_nazis_20100916/
Peter Stevens moved to Canada without ever revealing his Jewish heritage. His son Marc has written the gripping story of his father's life after discovering his true identity. --kofflerarts.org/Whats-On/Event-Detail/?recordid=99
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Pilot Officer (later decorated Squadron Leader) Peter Stevens was born Georg Hein, though the RAF didn't know that, nor that he had stolen the identity of a passed-away English schoolboy to cover that fact he was German, Jewish, an illegal alien in England and convicted petty felon. Neither did the Germans know it and fortunately for Stevens as, being shot down after flying 20-something bombing missions, he ended up a prisoner of war of the Germans in the famous `Great Escape' prison camp, Stalag Luft III. Please consider this particular human in this particular place... If there could exist a more dramatically dangerous situation that any human could ever be in, I would like to know what it is.
For normal Allied prisoners of war, life in such camps was often a matter of life and death at the hands of their German captors though they benefitted from the protection of the `Geneva Convention' and even, more often than not, from the essential decency of their German captors (at least towards downed Allied airmen). If however, Peter Stevens' captors had discovered he was in fact a German Jew who had not only escaped Nazi Germany but had already been back to BOMB it, one can only assume they would have attempted to torture and kill him TWICE: First as a Jew, second as a Traitor. Not surprisingly, Stevens kept his true identity from his captors for the duration of his stay with them, initially even from his friends. And given this true identity while imprisoned by the perpetuators of the Holocaust, you might expect that Peter, having faced death many times already as an RAF bomber pilot, would have kept a `low profile'. This is where readers of "Escape, Evasion and Revenge" will find `Dramatic Irony' taken to new heights as they follow how young Peter stepped into the role of German Language Expert in the document-forging departments of various prison camps (thus personally facilitating many escapes from them by his comrades). But more than that: He also escaped twice himself, one attempt being described by an English newspaper soon after the war as `the coolest escape of the war'.
As you might gather, "Escape, Evasion and Revenge" is an amazing story about a remarkable man, a story it's no wonder his son wanted to tell, which author Marc Stevens has done beautifully in this, his latest book. It is also the story of a highly complicated man and father, but mostly a portrait of survival, of irrepressible persistence and final victory against unimaginable evil. To this reader, one of the most resonant moments of the entire book is where the author captures the single moment of the `change' in Germany as experienced by a lone boy when his teacher changed from a nurturing one to a tormenting one. The moment when the impossible happened. When the most highly educated country on Earth changed to a Nazi one. All I can say is, "Author, Marc Stevens... Thank you and well done."
JUSTIN SHEEDY - Author of "Nor the Years Condemn" [...]
And then there's people like Marc Stevens who has not only taken us on his journey of discovering and perhaps rediscovering who his father, the late Squadron Leader Peter Stevens, MC, really was but has written a gripping book about the actions of his father in WWII in the process.
The subtitle of this book "The True Story of a German-Jewish RAF Pilot Who Bombed Berlin and Became a PoW" caught my eye immediately. What? A Jewish German joined the Royal Air Force, bombed Berlin, was shot down and taken prisoner? And survived?
Revenge is a powerful motive and to say Peter Stevens was a brave man would be putting it mildly. He knew exactly what he faced if his Hampden medium bomber was shot down over enemy territory, yet he kept those fears, if they even existed, hidden and pressed on until that fateful night in September 1941 when it actually happened.
Stevens' telling of his father's escape attempt off a German train with fellow POW Mike Lewis in December 1941 is particularly exciting as Lewis was able to provide the author with a firsthand account of their attempt (Peter Stevens passed away in 1979). There is almost a surreal tone in the narrative as one imagines Lewis, a Canadian, walking the streets of 1941 Hannover with Stevens as they sought to make contact with members of Stevens' family who lived there.
Stevens was destined to spend the rest of the war in a number of POW camps yet his German language skills and knowledge of social customs were to be utilized in several escape attempts including the Great Escape of March 1944. Several books in the library of any WWII escape story aficionado contain reference to "Steve" and his language skills yet his background, for obvious reasons, was known to very few. Through this book we are not only treated to an inside look at the planning of several escapes (author Stevens grew up knowing men like Group Captain Harry "Wings" Day, one of the leaders of the Great Escape) but we also learn who Peter Stevens was as both father and husband.
And by all accounts Peter Stevens did not share his thoughts with many people but somehow I can't help thinking he is looking at his son's efforts and nodding approvingly.