Escaping Hitler is the true story, covering ninety years, of a fourteen-year-old boy Gunter Stern who, when Adolf Hitler threatened hisfamily, education and future, resolved to escape from his rural village of Nickenich in the German Rhineland. In July 1939 Gunter boarded a bus to the border with Luxembourg, illegally crossed the river and walked alone for seven days through Belgium into Holland, intent on catching a ferry to England and freedom. The outcome was not exactly as he had planned.The author gathered her information through interviews with Gunter, now known as Joe Stirling, and with those closest to him. During an emotional 'foot-stepping' journey in September 2013 the author visited Gunter's birthplace, met with a school friend, discovered the apartment in Koblenz where he fled following Kristallnacht in 1938, drove the route of Gunter's walk through Europe and retraced the final steps of his parents prior to their deportation to a Nazi death camp in Poland during 1942.
Phyllida Scrivens lives with husband Victor on the River Yare in Norwich England, with swans, geese and ducks for neighbours. Since ten years old she has loved to write. Her successes include articles for magazines, short stories, monologues and one-act plays. At the age of sixty she fulfilled a long-term ambition when awarded a Masters Degree in Biography and Creative Non-Fiction from the University of East Anglia. But it was a weekly biographical interview feature, 'Meeting People', published in the Farnham Herald newspaper during the 1990s, that unwittingly prepared her for this debut full-length biography Escaping Hitler.