I first came up with the idea for the book in 2014 after teaching a course on the Holocaust at Chapman University. Preparation for teaching involved reading about two dozen books on the subject, which involved hundreds of hours of historical research.
In one of those books I read that although Joseph Goebbels, Germany’s Minister of Propaganda, declared Berlin “free of Jews” in 1943, 1,700 Jewish Berliners managed to survive in the city by living underground, many hidden and sheltered by non-Jewish friends and neighbors, people who would have been executed if found out.
The Jews in hiding became known as with U-Boats (“submariners”), people who submerged under the surface of everyday life, hiding in the shadows from the Nazis.
I wondered what it would be like to be one of the people who had disappeared “under the waves,” so to speak. What would it be like to hide in an abandoned building, constantly fearing for your life? What would it be like to be looking over your shoulder every time you came to the surface to look for food or other necessities? What would it be like to become involved with an underground organization dedicated to helping Jews at risk?
These are exactly the situations with which the two protagonists in my novel are faced. Erich Reinhold and Nessa Baumgartner go underground and soon find themselves in a world of false identification papers and forged ration cards, risking their lives to help others escape to freedom. Safety is a foreign word, danger is everywhere and love is a luxury they can’t afford. But maybe, in spite of danger and separation, they will find their safe harbor.
I do hope you enjoy the book.
About the Author
R.F. Rabe (Gerhardt Roberts) grew up in Germany and has been a Professor of German for the past 35 years at various colleges and universities. In the 1970’s he served in the Army Security Agency as a German linguist and intelligence analyst. His passion is all things German: the language, the culture and the history.
About the Book
In World War II Berlin, Jews such as Erich Reinhold, who can pass for Aryan, and his sweetheart, Nessa Baumgartner, go underground. In a city where Jewish life is being snuffed out, they soon find themselves in a world of false identification papers and forged ration cards, risking their lives to help others escape to freedom. Safety is a foreign word, danger is everywhere and love is a luxury they can’t afford. But maybe, in spite of danger and separation, they will find their safe harbor.