Fifty years separate us
from most of the events described in this volume. In these five decades
Europe has gone from the ugly hegemony of Hitler to a free united Europe.
The dream of a generation has become a reality.
This book is a chronicle
of how it all began, how a new Europe came out of the ashes of the Third
Reich which we fought with our bare hands.
This account is not about
heroes or superhuman beings. It is a story about men of faith and conviction
who risked their lives to do what they had to do. They could not have done
it any other way: They did it without guns and without violence.
This small volume is dedicated
to a new generation whom it might help better to understand Europe today,
as they see its beginnings through the eyes of those who laid its foundation.
It is also dedicated to
those who gave their lives for their convictions, but also to those who
came out unscathed and who can tell the story.
It is finally dedicated
to my children, this new generation of Americans, who can not imagine that
their dad did anything else in his life but sit at a typewriter.
At a time when the Holocaust
is analyzed and shown in the media essentially in terms of concentration
camps and killings, it is important to understand the positive side, namely
what the Christian churches did to save the lives of these victims of Nazism
and blind, racially motivated hatred, how organizations such as our forger's
nest at the Montpellier Seminary as well as Pastor Toureille's Chaplaincy
literally saved hundreds of lives during the war.
Americans will also hear,
probably for the first time, about Allen Dulles's railroad through France
for American and Allied officers and will get to know some of those responsible
for the dangerous task.
It will probably surprise
many that a book about experiences during World War II is not filled with
senseless killings, fear, blood, and suffering, not about the "good" French
and the "evil" Germans, but about human lives saved through acts of courage
on both sides. For this book, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, is always
about human dignity, about true values shared. It should be an encouragement
to those who can speak sincerely, today, about a new Europe and about the
future of peace among nations of the world.
Brasilia, September 1989