Survival in the Shadows by Barbara Lovenheim

Survival in the Shadows

By Barbara Lovenheim

  • Publication Date: 2016-10-18
  • Genre: History
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 23 Ratings)

Book Overview

The remarkable true story of two German Jewish families that survived against all odds while hiding in the heart of the Nazi capital

In January 1943, unable to flee Germany, the four members of the Arndt family went underground to avoid deportation to Auschwitz. Ellen Lewinsky and her mother, Charlotte, joined them; a year later, Bruno Gumpel arrived. Hiding in a small factory near Hitler’s bunker, without identification cards or food-ration stamps, they were dependent on German strangers for survival.
When Russian soldiers finally rescued the group in April 1945, the families were near death from starvation. But their will to live triumphed and two months later, four of the survivors—Erich Arndt and Ellen Lewinsky, and Ruth Arndt and Bruno Gumpel—reunited in a double wedding ceremony.
Survival in the Shadows chronicles the previously untold story of the largest group of German Jews to have survived hiding in Berlin through the final and most deadly years of the Holocaust.
Relayed to Barbara Lovenheim by three survivors from the group, the riveting story is a touching portrayal of the bravery of these seven Jews, and a heartfelt acknowledgment of the fortitude and humanity of the compassionate Germans who kept them alive.  

“An astonishing tale of lives lived in the lion’s den.” —The Jewish Chronicle
“The courage of the protectors renews one’s faith in the survival of altruism and integrity.” —The Sunday Times
“At times deeply moving, the book shows in a compelling way the variety of attitudes that Germans had toward the Jews and presents dramatic counter-testimony to those who would paint a one-dimensional picture.” —Michael Berenbaum, former director of research, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 
“Harrowing stories of courage under devastating circumstances—this book honors the human spirit in showing real acts of heroism.” —Andrea Dworkin
“Skillfully blends the voices of the survivors with historical information and moral reflection.” —Jewish Book World
“An extraordinary book, skillfully written, about seven ordinary Jews trapped in the belly of the Nazi beast. This must read narrative sheds light on the all too rare mystery of goodness.” —Alan L. Berger, chair of Holocaust studies, Florida Atlantic University

“Sobering but extraordinary reading—Barbara Lovenheim has added an important facet to the history of World War II.” —New Zealand Jewish Chronicle

Barbara Lovenheim is a journalist, an author, and the founding editor of She has written articles and cover stories for the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, and other publications, often interviewing high-level personalities including Hillary Clinton, Katharine Hepburn, and Arianna Huffington. Lovenheim, who holds a PhD in English literature, taught at the City University of New York before making her way as a writer. Survival in the Shadows is her third book.

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Recent Reviews

  • Survival in the Shadows

    By Wndrgmom
    Few books of this genre had me so engaged in reading about the experiences of these entertwined people. They were amazing at balancing so many things between so many helpful people. I still can’t quite believe how many struggles they encountered and the miracles that kept them safe. I cheered when Erich and Bruno beat up their former boss. What a pathetic, sniveling punk. I also enjoyed hearing of their lives after emigrating to America. They were really grateful for all that they achieved. Great book.