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Soaring Underground: A Young Fugitive's Life in Nazi Berlin Hardcover – 14 May 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Howells House (14 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929590155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929590158
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 409,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By all accounts, I had fought vigorously against being born. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By SpyReader on 9 April 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
what an amazing story - should be a film. The author tells his story with the right balance of fact and emotion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A great story about survival under the Nazis 12 Mar 2000
By Norman L. Weiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The story is facinating and causes one to think what they might have done if faced with the same danger. Larry tells how he learned his lessons of life from others and how he entered adulthood under such trying circumstances; how important food and shelter was and how he was able to cope while exposed to maximum danger. It will make a great film when someone takes it to Hollywood.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Surviving the holocaust 2 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I recently read this extemely moving biography.The author, Larry Orbach and his daughter, wrote an inspiring story about the life of a young German-Jewish teenager struggling to survive in Berlin.The reader can feel the gradual isolation of Larry, or Lothar, his original name. He and his family were loyal Germans and his father said that he would never leave Germany. After Larry's father dies in a concentration camp, he devotes himself to looking after his mother. What I found inspiring was Larry's accounts of friendship with some Germans who reached out to help him. His mother finds shelter with a Communist family who become close friends.The reader can feel Larry's growing isolation. The few friends he had couldn't stop him from being deported to Auschwitz, but they gave him loyalty and companionship. Larry has to keep moving to avoid being caught, and lives in a variety of places,including a brothel. Larry is very honest and does not to hesitate to relate the incidents where he took part in robberies etc. Some of the events are terrifying, but the book is full of hope. The book shows the reader the effects of both evil and goodness. I will remember all of these characters for a long time. The author describes his friends and enemies very clearly. I would highly recommend this biography.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
What a Great Book! 4 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
We had to read a book for school on the Holocaust and I picked this book! Although it's an autobiography, it reads like a story - I couldn't put it down! It's definitely worth buying!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Incredible 19 Aug 2012
By Darren Leva - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I just finished Soaring Underground, reading 80% of it in 2 days, it is next to impossible to put down. What an incredible book, voice and story. Seeing Berlin during WWII from the eyes of Lothar, an amazingly adaptable man during a period of sexual exploration and survival was something I'll never forget. What an incredible man and incredible writing. I've never read a single book like it, and don't know of any books that explore a boy's coming of age so honestly, let alone one that takes place during the Holocaust under disguise. The delicate balance of optimism and sadness throughout the book is impressive. I simply couldn't put it down. I am still baffled by the detailed Lothar remembers of each account of survival. I've read many Holocaust stories, but this is by far my favorite. Highly recommended.
Amazing account! 11 May 2014
By jerusalemgal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The book traces the life of Lothar (Larry) Orbach from his birth in 1924 in a small German village to his childhood and youth in Berlin before and during the war. Some of the accounts seem so surrealistic that I found myself having to remind myself that this a true story and not a fascinating coming-of-age novel with a unique twist. Its mixture of humor and optimism along with sadness and horror as we follow the breakdown of society during those years make it an unforgettable read.

Lothar's family considers itself proud Germans. His mother tells them that the deterioration in their status will surely pass in six months. His father insists that "If I ever leave the Fatherland, it will be on the very last train." Lothar's two older brothers do leave Germany (one after he is told he has to leave after being released from incarceration at an early camp, the other on the last train to leave with refugees).

But for Lothar's parents, and Lothar himself who, as a minor, is listed on their papers, leaving is forestalled first by the father's illness, then by bureaucracy, and finally by the closing of all avenues of escape.

We follow the fate of Lothar's father, and the escape of Lothar and his mother, who manage to go into hiding. Lothar manages to live through most of the war hiding in Berlin's underground until he's betrayed and sent to Auschwitz. However, only 14 of the book's 329 pages deal with his experiences in the camps.

The book deals more with the gradual degeneration of society, and along with it, provides glimpses of people who rise to the situation and those who prefer to ignore or betray those around them. Lothar is also shown both as the fugitive doing what it takes to survive and as the young man desperately trying to cling to some decency and finding growing comfort in his Gd and his Jewish roots.

Like The Diary of Ann Frank, the book is imbued with the author's optimism and humor which shine through the difficult experiences. Unlike Ann Frank, however, Lothar lives to tell his tale.

Hard to put down, this is a quick read, a five out of five.
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