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Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army


Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army

UNLIKELY WARRIOR is an amazing and poignant story of one man, Georg Rauch, and his three-year experience serving as a soldier in Hitler's Army. At the age of 18, Rauch was drafted into the German Wehrmacht (army). Rauch’s Aryan father was a captain during World War I, but based on his mother’s heritage, Rauch is one-quarter Jewish ---and his parents have been hiding Jews in their attic since Rauch's younger teen years.

Despite his brazen request to be released from the military because he is a Mischlinge (Hitler's derogatory word for a one-quarter Jew), Rauch was sent to the dreadful Russian trenches. Rauch worked as a telegraphist (a person who encodes messages) and radio operator, but his life drastically shifted when the Russians capture him, and he lives out the remainder of World War II in labor camps.

"UNLIKELY WARRIOR is one story that needs to be read and not forgotten."

Georg Rauch's memoir begins in 1984, on the 40th anniversary of his release from captivity. A work of love and immense healing for Rauch, UNLIKELY WARRIOR would not have seen its first publication in 2006 if it wasn't for his wife, Phyllis Rauch, who painstakingly did the translation from German to English. Georg's memoir is an incredible combination of his experiences and the letters that Georg wrote primarily to mother (prior to his Russian imprisonment). Interjected throughout Georg's narrative are family and war photos, as well as a good handful of art pieces he made that aptly reflect the horrors of war.

Georg breaks up his experiences into three parts. The first covers his brief military training before he transferred to the Eastern Front and his military service in Russia until he is taken captive. Part two focuses on his time spent in labor camps (which you simply have to read to believe) and the final portion shares his long journey back home to Vienna, during which he hopes against hope that his family is still alive.

Although Georg never lived to see this wider-scale publication, his candid memoir will live on. Undoubtedly, UNLIKELY WARRIOR is one story that needs to be read and not forgotten.

Reviewed by Anita Lock on February 24, 2015

Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army
by Georg Rauch

  • Publication Date: February 24, 2015
  • Genres: Nonfiction, Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • ISBN-10: 0374301425
  • ISBN-13: 9780374301422