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One Step Ahead of Hitler: A Jewish Child's Journey through France Paperback – September 15, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fred Gross, a graduate of New York University, was a reporter for the Journal-Courier, a daily newspaper in New Haven, Connecticut, and has been a public-relations specialist for nearly thirty years, specializing in education. Gross has been actively involved in the Jewish community in Louisville, Kentucky. He has taught a Holocaust curriculum to Sunday school students, and for years has also shared his story with middle and high school students. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Mercer University Press (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088146225X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881462258
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,795,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bernard Gross on April 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'll preface this review by revealing that the author is my father's first cousin. Which makes it all the more
surprising to me that this fascinating account of a family's successful flight from Hitler during World War II
is beautifully written. It's a suspenseful voyage that is stranger than fiction, and a testament to the value of
family and the determination of the oppressed to reach freedom. It's entirely appropriate for younger readers,
and a rare Holocaust story with a happy ending. An inspiring true story that you will want to finish in one
reading.
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Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure: I met the Gross Family in the late 40s when they became our neighbors in The Bronx. In time, Leo, the middle brother became my dearest and closest friend.I recall having a superficial knowledge of the family's escape from the Nazis but after reading Fred Gross' enthralling account of their situation it only further confirms that truth is far more stranger - and intriguing - than fiction. This mile-a-minute retelling of how the family split up - then reunited - is a compelling, can't-put-down thriller of a book. Fred Gross' work is a heartfelt tribute to all those who made it - and those who didn't.It is living, vibrant history played out by a normal family who wouldn't be destroyed.
SHELDON ROSKIN
SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One Step Ahead of Hitler is a movingly reconstructed memoir of a time, beginning in May 1940, when the author (age three and a half) and his family first flee the German Army's approach to Antwerp, Belgium (where the family had fled from Germany in 1924 to escape Nazi thugs). With the help of his mother and siblings many years after the War, author Fred Gross fills in the parts he could not hope to remember at such an early age (although by the time WWII ends, Gross, almost 9, is better able to recall his own personal history). This approach is not with pain--Gross' mother, Nacha, and brothers Leo and Sam, often would just as soon forget such painful memories (Fred recalls that his mother "didn't like to remember some things"). But Fred's persistence allows him to detail his family's perilous voyage across France--what Gross calls "our six-year journey dodging the Nazis"---and to find out many other facets of his family's history that he never knew.

And a perilous journey it is. Gross has chosen his title well. For over two years his family never really 'escapes' from the Germans, that is, crosses over to safety in England or America or some other place out of harm's way. Instead, the family, in a verve-wracking game of cat and mouse, just manages to stay "one step ahead" of the ever advancing Germans and their minions. There are plenty of close calls. Traveling in a refugee caravan at the start of the War, the family is repeatedly strafed. [One of Gross' most vivid early memories is being tossed into a ditch and protectively smothered by his mother.] The family flees to Paris, then Bordeaux, hoping to escape into Portugal via Spain, only to find the border closely guarded.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One Step Ahead of Hitler: A Jewish Child's Journey Through France begins with the author's recollections as a small boy. When his memory develops, so does his perception of the horrors visited upon his Jewish family. Fred Gross builds upon recall and supplements his account with research and interviews with his mother, brothers, friends and other relatives to get an accurate viewpoint of events that followed the German invasion of his native Belgium in 1940. The story is recounted earnestly, with the author's insights of family motivations and emotional conclusions. Throughout the book there is an unquenchable spirit manifest along with a love of humanity that was never destroyed. Fred Gross is a most remarkable man and explains an historical atrocity that must never be forgotten.
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Format: Hardcover
This book shares the holocaust experience of a very young, sensitive child. It's a fast read & fascinating.Well worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This tale enthralls from the first page and captivates until the last! Fred Gross is a beautiful writer and his talent for weaving living, breathing images with his words is enviable. I thoroughly enjoyed this book--devoured is maybe a more appropriate word--and then had the great honor to meet Mr. Gross at one of his lectures. This is a beautiful and terrible tale of one of the darkest times in world history. A tale of survivorship, it shares the heart-wrenching journey of one Jewish family on the run for years, with the Nazis on their heels. I am so grateful to Mr. Gross for adding this important testimony to the collection of Holocaust survivor histories. Furthermore, Mr. Gross did his research well and I learned things about the situation in Europe during WWII that I never knew. Lastly, I feel that it is important to note that this book transcends the genre of Holocaust Literature in that it is a fascinating read for anyone simply looking to hear a good story, not just those of us with an interest in Hitler's murderous scheme to eradicate the Jews. Thank you for enriching the world with your gift, Mr. Gross.
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