From the back cover of the book Survivor by Werner Barasch:
In this incredible report of World War II, Werner Barasch tells the story of his youth as a refugee and prisoner in Europe. Born to an affluent German-Jewish family, Werner's parents recognized early in Hitler's rise to power the seriousness of the threat to the Jewish community. Though his father remained in Germany, his mother lived as an expatriate in England and the united States, Werner's sister was sent to school in England, and Werner at fourteen was sent to Italy. While in Rome, before he would leave Europe. In this gripping account of survival, Werner proves himself an extraordinary resourceful, quick-witted lad, who would use any ploy to avoid capture. As the Germans made their inexorable march across Europe, Werner's fast thinking and smooth tongue kept him one step ahead of the Nazi forces.
When the Germans arrived to occupy Italy, Werner caught a train to Switzerland. As a result of the Swiss expulsion of their foreign refugees, he was sent to Paris where, though by race he was considered an enemy of Germany, by virtue of his German passport he was considered a threat to France. It was France that he was sent to his first in a series of internment camps, and he relates the strategies and self-discipline that kept his mind sharp and his body fit enough to fight the boredom and demoralization of camp life. While still in France he managed to escape from one facility, traversed the country by bicycle to make his way back to Switzerland - where he hoped to move forward on his immigration status - only to be sent back to France by the Swiss authorities. Finding himself in a new camp on the Mediterranean Sea, he devised a new plan of action - to escape through Spain to Portugal. He did make his dramatic escape over the Pyrenees, only to be captured and placed in the grim system of Franco's Spain until the end of the war.
This is a tale worthy of a Steven Spielberg blockbuster, as Dr. Barasch relates how he jumped trains, scaled walls, eluded patrols, secreted potatoes in his pants prevaricated in several languages and always traveled alone in order to endure and make his escape to the United States where his mother and sister anxiously awaited his arrival. This crisply written, clever and courageous boy who took pride in his ability to seize opportunities, execute carefully conceived plans and maintain his staunch refusal to submit to the oppression that broke the spirits of many of his fellow captives.
Survivor is a remarkable coming of age tale and another important testament of the resilience of the human spirit to be added to the annals of holocaust history.