They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies behind the Lines in Nazi Germany

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Overview

"At the height of World War II, with the Third Reich's final solution in full operation, a small group of Jews who had barely escaped the nazis did the unthinkable: they went back. Spies now, these men took on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. This is their story, a tale of adventure, espionage, love, and revenge." "Having barely escaped Germany, and with many of their family members languishing in concentration camps, several Jewish friends long for a way to strike back at the Third Reich. After months of training with the U.S. Army, a

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They Dared Return: The True Story of Jewish Spies Behind the Lines in Nazi Germany

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Overview

"At the height of World War II, with the Third Reich's final solution in full operation, a small group of Jews who had barely escaped the nazis did the unthinkable: they went back. Spies now, these men took on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. This is their story, a tale of adventure, espionage, love, and revenge." "Having barely escaped Germany, and with many of their family members languishing in concentration camps, several Jewish friends long for a way to strike back at the Third Reich. After months of training with the U.S. Army, a small group of spies is formed, including several former German soldiers now willing to betray their Fuhrer for the greater good of Germany." The men receive orders to conduct a treacherous covert mission behind enemy lines and deep inside the heavily fortified area of Austria's "Alpine Redoubt," where Hitler planned to make his last stand. Capture would mean almost certain death, success, a swift end to the war.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In what could be a true-life companion to Quentin Tarantino's recent pulp-grade wish-fulfillment WWII movie Inglorious Basterds, military historian O'Donnell (We Were One) tells the unrecorded story of Jewish Americans and German deserter-volunteers who hastened the War's end by infiltrating enemy territory, gathering intelligence and performing shadow operations for the newly-formed OSS (the forerunner to the U.S. Army's Special Ops). Operating in the Innsbruck area, considered the heart of Nazi Germany, one team was surprised to find several people willing to assist them. Though all operatives were eventually captured by the Gestapo, this eye-opening account reveals the inefficiency and cowardice of Gestapo agents, who often betrayed the Reich once they realized Germany would lose, hoping to improve their post-war lot (many mistakenly believed that the Americans and British would immediately turn on the Soviets, and want to use German forces in that fight). O'Donnell's book is quick-paced and immediate, with many satisfying moments like this exchange between U.S. Staff Sergeant Frederick Mayer and arrested Gestapo officer Walter Güttner, who had held Mayer captive: "Do anything you want to me, but don't hurt my family," Güttner pleads; Mayer responds, "Who do you think we are, Nazis?"
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
As the Reich began to collapse at the end of World War II, a group of Jewish agents parachuted into Austria to attempt to accelerate the implosion. These were no "inglourious basterds" whose stories O'Donnell (The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of World War II's Most Daring Spy Mission, 2008, etc.) tells, no avengers focused on sanguinary retribution. Rigorously trained by the newly established Office for Strategic Services-whose background the author sketches here-these agents had several objectives: determine to what extent the Germans were plotting a "last stand" in the Alps, investigate the status of the production of jet aircraft in the area and gather intelligence about the railroads and bridges. O'Donnell, who conducted myriad interviews with the survivors of the mission and read official reports of the action, advocates for the awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor to one of the principal players, Frederick Mayer, an intrepid scout who learned and accomplished much before the SS captured and tortured him. The author confesses some frustration with his project. There were several groups of Jewish-refugees-turned-OSS-agents, but space requirements forced him to focus on Operation Greenup, which began with a nocturnal parachute drop on a glacier near Innsbruck and comprised some heroics of deception, endurance and hasty improvisation. In long appendixes, the author reproduces the official mission reports of the other groups. O'Donnell is no artful stylist, and he makes use of a battalion of military-prose cliches-"ragtag outfit"; "out-of-the-box thinkers"; "ran a tight ship and ruled with an iron fist." But the agents' courage, skill, persistence, modesty and devotionsoar beyond the confines of the author's conventional diction. An important story, thoroughly though inelegantly told. Author tour to Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Chicago. Agent: Andrew Zack/The Zack Company
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469280639
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 12/11/2012
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 1,063,203
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick K. O’Donnell is a military historian and the award-winning author of seven books, including Give Me Tomorrow; The Brenner Assignment; the bestseller and William E. Colby Award winner Beyond Valor, and the highly acclaimed account of the Battle of Fallujah, We Were One.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 "Get Me Out of the Infantry!" 3

2 Country Club 8

3 The Wait 19

4 A Roll of the Dice 27

5 Into the Cage 43

6 The Hustler 47

7 Alpenfestung 51

8 Operation Greenup 57

9 Operation Deadwood 61

10 The Jump 67

11 The Counterfeit Gambit 74

12 Ticket to Ride 78

13 The Game 81

14 In the Belly of the Beast 87

15 The Electrician 92

16 Where There Were No Borders 95

17 Fly in the Ointment 100

18 Alpenfestung? 105

19 Captured 112

20 The Kriminalrat 116

21 Downfall 117

22 Funkspiel 122

23 General Fred Mayer 125

24 Into the Hills 127

25 The Tables Are Turned 131

26 To the End 138

27 Matull's Plight 142

28 The Surrender of Innsbruck 144

29 Turnabout 149

30 The Double Agent 151

31 "Who Do You Think We Are, Nazis?" 153

Epilogue 155

Then and Now 157

Appendix A Report on Operation Dania 159

Appendix B Debriefing Report on Operations Dillon and Dillon III 170

Appendix C Bernd Steinitz Debriefed by Dyno Lowenstein 187

Appendix D Report of Gestapo Anti-Parachute Chief in Klagenfurt 190

Appendix E The German View of the Dillon Mission 192

Appendix F Final Report on German Civilians 196

Notes 201

Index 229

Illustrations appear after page 124

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2009

    An amazing story out of WWII of adventure and intrigue

    In an extremely well written story, O'Donnell weaves together a tale of espionage and intrigue as five Jewish refuges from Nazi Germany return to Hitler's home land to help defeat the Nazis in the final day of the war.
    Supported by recently declassified documents from the National Achieves and personnel interviews with the participants, O'Donnell brings together an incredible untold story of heroism, danger and personnel sacrifice.
    A great read about real life heroes.
    Move over James Bond.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2014

    Super...! Great...! Wonderful...!

    Super...! Great...! Wonderful...!

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    Posted March 8, 2011

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    Posted March 16, 2011

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    Posted February 28, 2010

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