Stories of Survival and Hope

The stories of Holocaust survivors are as inspiring as they are haunting, but the common thread holding them together is persistence in the face of unthinkable devastation and suffering. Purdue University Press is proud of our part helping preserve their stories, several of which you can find below.


Escaping Extermination: Hungarian Prodigy to American Musician, Feminist, and Activist

by Agi Jambor, Edited by Frances Pinter


Written shortly after the close of World War II, Escaping Extermination tells the poignant story of war, survival, and rebirth for a young, already acclaimed, Jewish Hungarian concert pianist, Agi Jambor. From the hell that was the siege of Budapest to a fresh start in America, the author describes how she and her husband escaped the extermination of Hungary’s Jews through a combination of luck and wit.

Unpublished until now but written in the immediacy of the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, Escaping Extermination is a story of hope, resilience, and even humor in the fight against evil.


Eva and Otto: Resistance, Refugees, and Love in the Time of Hitler

by Tom Pfister, Kathy Pfister, and Peter Pfister

Eva and Otto is a true story about German opposition and resistance to Hitler as revealed through the early lives of Eva Lewinski Pfister and Otto Pfister, who worked with a little-known German political group that resisted and fought against Hitler in Germany before 1933 and then in exile in Paris before the German invasion of France in May 1940.

The book provides a sobering insight into the personal risks and costs of a commitment to the duty of helping others threatened by fascism. Their unusually beautiful writing—directed to each other in diaries and correspondence during two long periods of wartime separation—also reveals an unlikely and inspiring love story.


Finding Edith: Surviving the Holocaust in Plain Sight

by Edith Mayer Cord

Finding Edith is the coming-of-age story of a young Jewish girl chased in Europe during World War II. Like a great adventure story, the book describes the childhood and adolescence of a Viennese girl growing up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the rise of Nazism, World War II, and the religious persecution of Jews throughout Europe.


Rebuilt from Broken Glass: A German Jewish Life Remade in America

by Fred Behrend with Larry Hanover


Fred Behrend’s childhood came to a crashing end with Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) and his father’s harrowing internment at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. But he would not be defined by these harrowing circumstances. Behrend would go on to experience brushes with history involving the defeated Germans. By the age of twenty, he had run a POW camp full of Nazis, been an instructor in a program aimed at denazifying specially selected prisoners, and been assigned by the U.S. Army to watch over Wernher von Braun, the designer of the V-2 rocket that terrorized Europe and later chief architect of the Saturn V rocket that sent Americans to the moon. This book tells his story.


Of Exile and Music: A Twentieth Century Life

by Eva Mayer Schay

This fascinating autobiography is set against the backdrop of some of the most dramatic episodes of the twentieth century. It is the story of a stubborn struggle against unjust regimes, sustained by a deep belief in the strength of the human spirit and the transcendental power of music. It is also an account of a rich spiritual life, during which the author has built upon her Jewish roots through the study of Eastern philosophy and meditation.



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