The Art of Resistance: My Four Years in the French Underground: A Memoir (Hardcover)

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Description


An unforgettable World War II memoir set in Nazi-occupied France and filled with romance and adventure: a former Eastern European Jew remembers his flight from the Holocaust and his extraordinary four years in the French underground. Justus Rosenberg, now 98, has taught literature at Bard College for the past fifty years.

In 1937, as the Nazis gained control and anti-Semitism spread in the Free City of Danzig, a majority German city on the Baltic Sea, sixteen-year-old Justus Rosenberg was sent to Paris to finish his education in safety. Three years later, France fell to the Germans. Alone and in danger, penniless, and cut off from contact with his family in Poland, Justus fled south. A chance meeting led him to Varian Fry, an American journalist in Marseille helping thousands of men and women, including many artists and intellectuals—among them Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, Andre Breton, and Max Ernst—escape the Nazis.

With his German background, understanding of French culture, and fluency in several languages, including English, Justus became an invaluable member of Fry’s refugee network as a spy and scout. The spry blond who looked even younger than his age flourished in the underground, handling counterfeit documents, secret passwords, black market currency, surveying escape routes, and dealing with avaricious gangsters. But when Fry was eventually forced to leave France, Gussie, as he was affectionately known, could not get out. For the next four years, Justus relied on his wits and skills to escape captivity, survive several close calls with death, and continue his fight against the Nazis, working with the French Resistance and later, becoming attached with the United States Army. At the war’s end, Justus emigrated to America, and built a new life.

Justus’ story is a powerful saga of bravery, daring, adventure, and survival with the soul of a spy thriller. Reflecting on his past, Justus sees his life as a confluence of circumstances. As he writes, “I survived the war through a rare combination of good fortune, resourcefulness, optimism, and, most important, the kindness of many good people.”

About the Author


JUSTUS ROSENBERG was born in Danzig (present-day Gdańsk, Poland), in 1921. Graduating from the Sorbonne, in Paris, he worked with the French underground for four years and then served in the United States Army. For his wartime service, Rosenberg received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. For the last seventy years, he has taught at American universities; his is professor emeritus of languages and literature at Bard College, where he has been on faculty for fifty years. He is the cofounder of the Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation, which works to combat anti-Semitism. In 2017 the French ambassador to the United States personally made Rosenberg a Commandeur in the Légion d’Honneur, among France’s highest decorations, for his heroism during World War II. He lives with his wife in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Praise For…


“Gripping. … Fearless. … Recalls imprisonments, escapes from confinement, and successful missions against the Nazis. … A welcome addition to the World War II memoir shelf.”
— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review

“[A] powerful debut memoir. … Rosenberg, a modest narrator, nevertheless writes thrillingly of his life. … Has all the suspense of a tense spy thriller.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Rosenberg provides a thrilling account of gut-wrenching wartime experiences. … Highly recommended.”
— Library Journal, STARRED Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062742193
ISBN-10: 0062742191
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020
Pages: 304
Language: English