Gone To Ground

Gone To Ground

Author: Marie Jalowicz Simon

Translator: Anthea Bell

Original language: German

Published by: Clerkenwell Press, 2015

Thrilling and terrifying by turns, this is the gripping account of a young Jewish woman who survived the Second World War by going to ground in Berlin

Berlin 1941. Marie Jalowicz Simon, a nineteen-year-old Jewish woman, makes an extraordinary decision. All around her, Jews are being rounded up for deportation, forced labour and extermination. Marie takes off the yellow star and vanishes into the city.

In the years that follow, Marie lives under an assumed identity, moving between almost twenty different safe houses. She is forced to accept shelter wherever she can find it, and many of those she stayed with expected services in return. She stays with foreign workers, committed communists and even convinced Nazis. Any false move might lead to arrest. Always on the move, never certain who could be trusted and how far, it was her quick-witted determination and the most amazing and hair-raising strokes of luck that ensured her survival.

This is Marie's extraordinary story, told in her own voice with unflinching honesty after more than fifty years of silence.

'This isn't a book about noble heroes, or about silent heroes. It's not a history of the good people in the resistance. It takes us deep into Berlin, where meanness and helpfulness, squalor and great heartedness kept close quarters ... This book is a mad journey into the reality that lies beyond the radar of history's great words and broad brushstrokes. It pays witness not to human love, but instead to a devastating love of truth.' Berliner Zeitung

'A remarkable, unsentimental book...Gone to Ground is a memorably good book, and Jalowicz's voice - perceptive, humane, determined - comes across on every page.' Caroline Moorehead, Guardian

'Remarkable...fascinating...She is a female voice from the horrors of the Second World War and it is good that voice lives on.' Louise Jury, Independent

'Jalovicz Smon is a born storyteller, fluently describing dire practicalities, sparing no one in criticism or praise, including herself.' Rebecca Swirsky, The Observer