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 stays with expect 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 is her quick-witted determination and the most amazing and hair-raising strokes of luck that ensure her survival. This is Marie's extraordinary story, told in her own voice with unflinching honesty after more than fifty years of silence.
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
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 Marie Simon transports the reader right to wartime Berlin. Even seventy years later, her voice is young, fresh, and gripping. Her story is by turns funny, wise and horrific. I felt like she was reaching out to me across time and I couldn't help but fall in love with her. Despite the incredible dangers she faced living underground in Nazi Berlin, Marie's story is incredibly life-affirming and at times, even joyful. -- Clara Kramer, author of Clara's War The tone of her testimony is remarkable, unsentimental and yet often infused with unexpected empathy for so many of the people with whom she crossed paths...What makes this book so striking is the steady voice, beautifully rendered into English by Anthea Bell, of a spectacularly resilient, resourceful and singularly brave woman. -- Natasha Lehrer Jewish Chronicle 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
Marie Jalowicz Simon was born in 1922 and came from a middle-class Jewish family. She escaped the ghettos and concentration camps that claimed the lives of so many other Jews during the Second World War, by living in hiding in Berlin. After the war she taught classics and philosophy at the Berlin Humboldt University, but rarely spoke about her past. Shortly before her death in 1998, her son recorded her telling her story for the first time. This book is based on the tapes he recorded.