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One Step Ahead

One Step Ahead

A Jewish Fugitive in Hitler's Europe

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Alfred Feldman. Foreword by Susan Zuccotti


E-book (Other formats: Hardcover)
5.375 x 8.5, 28 illustrations


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About the Book

Through compelling personal accounts and family correspondence, One Step Ahead documents Alfred Feldman’s harrowing flight into exile as he and his family fled the pogroms that flooded across Nazi-occupied Europe. It is a memoir of horror and hope recounted by a man who survived the organized terror of Hitler’s "Final Solution" as it destroyed entire generations of European Jewish life within ten catastrophic years in the mid-twentieth century. Feldman’s memoir conveys the searing pain that has never left him, while demonstrating the triumphant humanity of a survivor.

Feldman vividly describes the impact of the escalating anti-Semitic hatred and violence in Germany during the 1930s, the impact of the notorious Nuremberg Laws in 1935, and the terrifying Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938. By age sixteen, Feldman was living with his parents and three younger sisters in Antwerp, Belgium, during the 1939 German invasions of Poland, marking the start of World War II. In the face of increasing persecution, Feldman’s extended family scattered over the globe in a desperate attempt to remain one step ahead of their Nazi pursuers.

Recalling his life on the run, Feldman describes what few survivors have chosen to write about: the Vichy raids of August 26, 1942; the French labor brigades; the Comité Dubouchage; and life in super-vised residence in France under the Italians. While in the south of France, Feldman endured food shortages and Nazi anti-Semitic measures, beginning with work camps and culminating in the deportation and ultimate death of his mother and sisters at Auschwitz.

To evade the Germans, Feldman and his father fled into the Italian Alps in September of 1943, hiding between the Allies and the Germans. Aided by local villagers, the Feldmans survived precariously for over a year and a half, along with other Jewish refugees, until that region was liberated. Only then, and only gradually, did Feldman manage to piece together the fate of his surviving family and learn at last of the death of his mother and sisters.

Now, as an adult, Alfred Feldman has retraced his escape and exile, taking his wife and children to his hometown in Germany, the mountains in Italy, and Montagnac, where a plaque commemorates his mother and sisters.


Born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1923, Alfred Feldman is a retired chemist and computer systems consultant.


"Feldman’s memoir is quite successful. His is not the conventional retelling of the brutalities of life and death in Nazi camps. Rather it is the story of a Jew from Germany who managed to elude the Nazis for the entire war. How he did so is a fascinating tale of personal ingenuity, sheer good luck, and the caring protection of others, spread across four European countries."—Jerold S. Auerbach, author of Jacob’s Voices: Reflections of a Wandering American Jew

“In this straightforward, often riveting memoir, Feldman recounts the harrowing years of his youth and young adulthood, which he spent eluding the Nazis.... Escape is the memoir’s leitmotif, and Feldman, as both survivor and refugee from the holocaust, gives that theme a quiet power.”—Publishers Weekly

“This is an extraordinary story that is gripping like a novel as it increases in tempo and danger to the very last days of the war high in the Alps. Feldman's writing is often understated and to the point, [and] certain sentence are devastating in their brevity and honesty.”—Stephen Balbach, Cool Reading 2009

“In this heartfelt memoir Feldman describes his rejection of Judaism, and his eventful decision not to say the Kaddish for his mother. Although many survivors lost their faith, having been shaken following their realization of the magnitude of the Holocaust, few memoirs that I have read describe the steps so candidly.”—Jack Fischel, Shofar