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Herbert Steinschneider


Phil Steinschneider



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