Tomorrow Will Be Better: Surviving Nazi Germany

Tomorrow Will Be Better: Surviving Nazi Germany

Tomorrow Will Be Better: Surviving Nazi Germany

Tomorrow Will Be Better: Surviving Nazi Germany


How does a young German who has been a member of the Hitler Youth and has competed in Nazi-organized athletic competitions become, over the span of two years, an eighty-pound, tuberculosis-stricken concentration camp escapee?

In this larger-than-life memoir, Walter Meyer leads readers from one harrowing moment to the next as he recounts his experiences during and after Hitler's reign. As a teenager, Meyer refused to conform to institutional rules. While serving in the Hitler Youth, he rebelled by joining a subversive group that focused its efforts on pranks against the youth organization. During World War II, Meyer was arrested, interrogated, and beaten for stealing shoes, but he received a sentence of one to four years, as opposed to the standard penalty for looting-death.

The sixteen-year-old Meyer's refusal to conform to prison regulations and his foiled escape attempts resulted in solitary confinement on several occasions. His fiery spirit eventually landed him in a Nazi work camp. Unbeknownst to his family, Meyer became a concentration camp prisoner. Transported to Ravensbrueck, he was forced to work under grueling conditions in a quarry. He struggled to reach his daily work quota so he could dine on watery broth and bits of bread. In these subhuman conditions, Meyer developed tuberculosis. Knowing he would soon die in the camp, he again plotted his escape. This time he succeeded.

Upon returning home to Duesseldorf, Meyer despaired at the destruction of his hometown. He lamented the pallor that had spread throughout the town and the country itself. After recovering his health, he regained his youthful lust for adventure. His postwar travels began with his infiltration of the Russian-occupied zone of Germany to retrieve his family's possessions. Meyer then began a whirlwind odyssey, ducking into train cars and stowing away on ships, occasionally landing in jail for traveling without a passport-from France to Spain, Belgium to Holland, and finally to South America--in pursuit of something other than the aftermath of war.

Meyer's memoir gives insight into the climate in Germany during World War II and in the defeated nation after the war. His experience as a non-Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camps provides an enlightening and varied perspective to the Holocaust dialogue.


“Where are you from?” “When did you come to the U.S.?” “What did you do during the war?”

These are questions I am asked frequently when people realize that I am not a native.

When I explain that I spent time in a German concentration camp during World War II, the question that follows is always the same: “Are you Jewish?” or, more positively, “Oh, so you must be Jewish!” of course, my last name “Meyer, ” of Hebrew origin, could easily be Jewish. Many doubt me, simply because they are convinced that a non-Jew could not have been imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.

It's frustrating to me that the Holocaust has become an almost exclusively Jewish chapter in history. Few seem aware of the thousands of Germans, French, Russians, Poles, Italians, Belgians, Dutch, Czechs, the many Jehovah's Witnesses and the Gypsies, who were also prisoners.

The many books, movies, and monuments focusing on the . . .

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