on 6 August 2007
This is a well-written and thoroughly researched account of the subject. The individual stories are extremely interesting and give an excellent insight into the many different ways in which these "enemy aliens" assisted the war effort. Their story is not widely known, and the author has to be congratulated on deciding to write the book before it is too late because the people involved are no longer alive. It is to be hoped that a wider public will read this book, which demonstrates how much this country can gain from people who earlier were often referred to as "bloody foreigners". An excellent selection of well-reproduced photographs is included, and not only people interested in the history of Wold War II should read the book.
on 9 August 2007
Helen Fry is to be congratulated for her meticulous research into a little known fact of World War 2 and recording her findings for posterity This book chronicles the stories of many Jewish refugees who managed to escape the oppressive Nazi regime before the outbreak of war and found refuge in Great Britain. Most of these people were classified as enemy aliens and interned in 1940 with little or no opportunity for release other than to join the Pioneer Corps of the British army The fact that many young men ultimately chose to transfer to elite fighting regiments is not well known and this book serves to immortalise their bravery, heroics and loyalty to the country that gave them sanctuary in time of need. The accounts of the exploits of individual male and female members of the armed forces are related in easy to read and riveting detail. The book also highlights the enormous value of German speaking military personnel both during and after the end of the war in assisting the British high command in interrogating and bringing to trial many war criminals. The book should be read by the wider community lest they ever forget the devastation and suffering of European Jewry and the memory of those who were able to fight and conquer the evil tyranny of the Nazi regime.
on 9 September 2007
Hele Fry has probably grasped the last opportunity for live interviews with the surviving volunteers who joined HM Forces in order to discharge their gratitude to the nation which had given them refuge and to play their part in the struggle of humanity against inhumanity. Helen Fry has bracketted a very represntative selection of personal accounts of frustrations, tragedies, successes and triumphs with her introduction and personal conclusions. The literature about the second world war could not be called complete without this book. SH Gruber, one who also served.
on 15 June 2008
The key to the content of this book lies in the word "Germans" in the subtitle. In other words, it contains very many of the individual "stories" of the "Germans" [it should also include "Austrians"] who fought in Britain's armed forces during the Second World War against their original homelands of Germany and Austria. As such, readers should not expect to find any great historical depth or even scholarship in this book. What they will find will be of interest to the general reader, especially since most of the author's interviewees provide extraordinarily interesting glimpses of their wartime experiences in Britain's armed forces. However, it really needs to be pointed out that this present reviewer had previously published in 1992 and 1995 two carefully researched and - dare one say it?, scholarly - contributions to the subject [glaringly not included in this volume's bibliography], including having interviewed and received "memoir" materials from the participants. More importantly, those two contributions detail what Helen Fry has not, which is the key and important role of the British government in the subject: in its differing recruitment policies with regard to such enemy aliens, and more importantly the whole question (a background issue throughout the war) of their eventual "nationality" at the end of the war. This important subject is touched upon in a couple of sentences only by Helen Fry. For those who would wish to investigate the whole of this subject further, they really need to read the following: John P Fox, "German and Austrian Jews in Britain's Armed Forces and British and Germany Citizenship Policies 1939-1945" (Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook, XXXVII, 1992, pp. 415-59); and, John P Fox, "German and Austrian Jewish Volunteers in Britain's Armed Forces 1939-1945" (Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook, 1995, Volume XL, pp. 21-50).