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Surviving Hitler: The Unlikely True Story of an SS Soldier and a Jewish Woman
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Surviving Hitler: The Unlikely True Story of an SS Soldier and a Jewish Woman

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  664 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
Gustav Palm kept his secret for more than forty years. He’d been a young man when Hitler invaded his native Norway. After being forced to guard a Nazi prison camp, however, Gustav took his only option for escape: he volunteered for the Waffen-SS to fight at the front.

Agnes Erdös grew up in privilege and prosperity as a child in Hungary. She and her parents were practicing
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 7th 2014 by Deseret Book
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Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is really a time I wish I was good with words. I wish I could express in beautiful writing how much I loved this book, because it deserves that. Unfortunately I was born with the gift of "gab" and not the gift of "writing". I can only hope that my review will encourage another person to read this amazing story.

Stories about the holocaust are so very hard for me to read. In all honesty I try to avoid them. I like to read to escape reality, not live it through the words of a book. When I saw
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
So, so good! The book was hard to put down - I kept wondering how Gustav and Agnes would meet. I'm always fascinated by WWII stories, and this one included perspectives from both sides; a Jewish woman sent to a concentration camp and a Norwegian/Swede who signed up as a German soldier. I know one of Gustav's and Agnes' grandchildren, and he was the one who recommended this book to me. I'm glad I read it!
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was incredibly difficult for me to read. I have read several books by Holocaust and POW camp survivors, but this book was unique in that it followed two people's lives on different sides of the war and gave so much personal detail about what they went through and experienced. This is what made it very hard for me to read: particularly the scenes from near the end of and right after the end of the war. In fact, I just had to skip over some parts because it was just too painful and horri ...more
Sep 27, 2014 rated it liked it
It's hard to criticize a book where people are telling the horrific stories of the way in which World War II and the Holocaust affected their lives. But here goes. This book is apparently told in the words of the protagonists (although the author, their son, doesn't make that entirely clear), a Norwegian volunteer in the German SS who fought on the Eastern (Russian) Front and a Catholic woman who was interned in Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and elsewhere because her grandmother was Jewish and she w ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was a teacher of history in my former life so this was all very familiar to me. The young soldier who thought possibly he could survive somehow as an SS only to see the horrors of war upfront and to know he was aiding the wrong cause. Then the Jewish girl who had to endure so much, losing her family and all that she had. It is still a mystery to me that the cultured, peace loving, German people could have let this happen. The interesting part to me was to see these young people come into the c ...more
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This was more like 2 1/2 stars for me. I usually love reading stories about WWII but this read very much like a text book and I had a hard time getting into it. There were a lot of horrible things that happened but I felt like they were told with no emotion at all. I was excited to get to the part where they finally meet and it was skimmed over so quickly that I was disappointed. Overall I thought their stories were amazing and i loved that they got through all of it and found each other and the ...more
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, ww2
This is the kind of story we all need to write, about ourselves and our parents. It may not be as intense as surviving Nazi concentration camps and fighting on the front lines of WWII, but we have some challenges and some successes in the last half of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st that our posterity may be interested in 50 to 100 years from now.
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
The story of Agnes and Gustav is amazing! Gustav was an SS soldier and Agnes was actually a converted Christian woman who was Jewish who ended up in Auschwitz concentration camp. (I understand-that would be hard to fit all that in the book title.) The writing style is similar to journal entries switching back and forth between Agnes and Gustav. While Gustav's story was fascinating, I found myself holding my breath for Agnes. There is a part of the book where she is watching her parents being led ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an inspiring story! It was fascinating to see perspectives on both sides of the war. I loved seeing how these two people were drawn together after going through so many horrible experiences.

I'd say a major theme of this book is that there are good and bad people everywhere. I especially loved Angus's accounts of the kind people she met while in the concentration camps, some of them prisoners, some of them guards. It's not a perspective you always see. She saw examples of people who retained
Skylar Hatfield
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book has just been released. This book is the first to tell the side-by-side accounts of an SS soldier and a Jewish prisoner of war that I have read. Both of these people had such different experiences and reactions to their trials. They were very innocent and naive when they became involved in WWII. They were both sheltered from politics and ethics, but in very different ways. They had very different religious upbringing. Yet, at different moments of crisis, each acted on a prompting from ...more
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-book
I am so grateful that their son shared their story with the world. I am humbled by their goodness, determination and family motto/crest--- "Overcoming through love". I have so much to ponder because of this book. 4.5 Stars because it took me a bit to pick up the rhythm of the writing... Which I ended up loving!
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am fascinated with the events of WWII and this book didn't disappoint. I met Hakan Palm Saturday at Deseret Book; I told him my interest in how his parent's experiences affected the children. He explained even more how his parents dealt with their past; I was very touched.
Aug 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked it. It was truly interesting. Sometimes the writing was slow and I wish there was more explanation into how they overcame all the emotional scars of war. But it was a story full of hope and possibilities and I loved that.
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
The style of using two different voices telling their stories being told by their son was a little hard to follow at times. I didn't feel like I really heard their individual voices. Inspiring to learn of them, their trials and triumphs though not one I would recommend.
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. Love a happy ending made by strong, hard working people with much to overcome. Forgiveness is the greatest gift we give ourselves & future generations.
Ashley Camp
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Such an incredible story of two WWII survivors, brought together by fate. Their faith is inspiring.
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I learned so much about the war and saw how not only the Jews were victims but those who were forced into serving in the army.
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
Very touching-loved it!
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
A magnificent story of courage, love, and perseverance. I loved hearing both perspectives from the war. These are two truly amazing individuals.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting true account of two World War II survivors. From the title and cover, I expected it to be about two people who meet during the war who, though on opposite sides, are irresistibly drawn to each other, possibly with him as a guard and her as an inmate at a concentration camp. Since Hitler's name is in the title, I thought he might actually play a more direct role in the story as well. I was wrong on both counts. The couple doesn't actually meet until after the war, and ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful World War II book. Follows a Hungarian girl (Christian, but of Jewish ethnicity) from her childhood, then as she goes to a ghetto, and to concentration camps, is miraculously saved multiple times, keeps her faith, and survives the war. Side by side, the story of her future husband is told (in his voice) as he signs up for a "police academy" in Norway and finds himself an SS soldier on the front lines. Both of them experience horrible things and suffer greatly, but they also each experi ...more
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would give 5 stars to Gustav and Agnes for sharing their personal stories.

It is hard to write reviews on survivor stories. I think it must take a lot of courage to share personal WWII stories. The accounts from Agnes captured my interest more. But it was good to read both stories, how they survived, the experiences they had recovering after the war, how they met and how they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, etc.

I gave it 4 stars because I think the formatting, editing,
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This a first-hand story written about Agnes, who is a Jewess who was imprisoned in concentration camps during World War II even though she was originally baptized Catholic, and Gustov, who was forced to go into the German army even though he was a Norwegian farmer. Each left alone after the war, they were able to find each other and the Church of Jesus Christ. Their story is one of incredible resilience and healing through their faith.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked it. It was very interesting and fun to learn more about world war 2. It was also fun to learn about peoples lives and what they went through. I didn't like how at some spots they put in random stuff that didn't need to be there. I like the characters and I thought that it was interesting that they had totally different lives during world war until they met and got married. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes biographical books.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this account of WWII through the eyes of an SS soldier and a Jewish girl. I love the religious themes and reliance on God throughout the book. A lot of WWII accounts gloss over what really happened in the concentration camps. This does do that some, but it also portrays the atrocities in a frank manner. This is a simple story and easy to read, and it is uplifting.
Ramona McConkie
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
An incredible, true story about a Jew and an SS soldier who marry and convert to the LDS church.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Super inspiring and hopeful.
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Five stars isn't enough. This is such an incredible story of strength and survival and love overcoming life.
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A wonderful story of hope.
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub-pick
great book. unlikely story of an SS soldier and a German concentration camp survivor.
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“I was overwhelmed with gratitude that such greatness and nobility survived in the most degraded situation. I felt that the eternal spirit, which exists in all people, could be accessible despite the circumstances. Maybe there was still hope for the world, if some could remain untouched and pure in the midst of all the insanity! I learned that the hope that the world will be a place where all people will love their neighbors as themselves is alive as long as there is one person alive practicing it on the earth.” 2 likes
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