100 books like Fleeing Hitler

By Hanna Diamond,

Here are 100 books that Fleeing Hitler fans have personally recommended if you like Fleeing Hitler. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Suite Française

David Snell Author Of Sing to Silent Stones: Part One

From my list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

My reading is almost entirely influenced by my own family’s extraordinary history. My mother and father-in-law were both illegitimate. Both suffered for the fact and my father-in-law was 11 years old when he first found out and was reunited with his mother, albeit on a second-class basis compared to his half siblings. My mother trained bomb aimers. My father flew Lancaster bombers and was just 19 years old in the skies above wartime Berlin. My own books combine history, my personal experiences, and my family’s past to weave wartime stories exploring the strains that those conflicts imposed on friendships.

David's book list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2

David Snell Why did David love this book?

An abiding theme within my own book is that love and friendship can supplant racial and cultural differences, and this book, set in a village in France during the 2nd World War, highlights a growing and reluctant friendship between an occupier and the occupied.

The hatred that invasion induces causes any fraternisation to be labelled ‘collaboration.’ Sometimes it is. Sometimes, it is just people caught out of context seeking comfort and normality.

It is easy for those whose countries have never been occupied to scoff at the behaviour of those who had to live in the atmosphere and the reality of a hostile invasion. Let’s hope we never have to find out firsthand.

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Suite Française as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, "Suite Francaise" would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece. Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, "Suite Francaise" falls…


Book cover of France Under Fire: German Invasion, Civilian Flight and Family Survival During World War II

Austin Denis Johnston Author Of 33 Days: A Memoir

From my list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Twenty years ago I nearly married a French woman and emigrated. I prepared vigorously to become an honorary Frenchman, cramming French history, language, and culture. Ultimately, I neither married nor emigrated, but the passion for that cultural acquisition project never left me, meaning many years of trips, reading, and language study. For the last decade, I've supplemented that interest by looking for historically significant French texts to translate (primarily contemporaneous texts about the World Wars and the interwar period). I have degrees in history and international affairs, plus professional experience in military affairs (including the Office of Secretary of Defense) and editing magazines (for Time, Inc.).

Austin's book list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2

Austin Denis Johnston Why did Austin love this book?

A more specialized account focused on the role of women, who made up the vast majority of refugees, in petitioning government for civilian protection and assistance before and after the crisis, and their unique experiences on the road. Dombrowski Risser finds that women initiated an expansion of universal human rights in wartime to include refugees' rights. Her insightful and masterfully informed analysis of primary source materials—women's letters to government officials—brings them to life, adding illuminating, and heartrending, substance and texture.

By Nicole Dombrowski Risser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked France Under Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'We request an immediate favour of you, to build a shelter for us women and small children, because we have absolutely no place to take refuge and we are terrified!' This French mother's petition sent to her mayor on the eve of Germany's 1940 invasion of France reveals civilians' security concerns unleashed by the Blitzkrieg fighting tactics of World War II. Unprepared for air warfare's assault on civilian psyches, French planners were among the first in history to respond to civilian security challenges posed by aerial bombardment. France under Fire offers a social, political and military examination of the origins…


Book cover of The Fall of Paris: June 1940

Austin Denis Johnston Author Of 33 Days: A Memoir

From my list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Twenty years ago I nearly married a French woman and emigrated. I prepared vigorously to become an honorary Frenchman, cramming French history, language, and culture. Ultimately, I neither married nor emigrated, but the passion for that cultural acquisition project never left me, meaning many years of trips, reading, and language study. For the last decade, I've supplemented that interest by looking for historically significant French texts to translate (primarily contemporaneous texts about the World Wars and the interwar period). I have degrees in history and international affairs, plus professional experience in military affairs (including the Office of Secretary of Defense) and editing magazines (for Time, Inc.).

Austin's book list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2

Austin Denis Johnston Why did Austin love this book?

The fall of France is essential historical context for the refugee crisis, and this book is "history with a flair." Focused on Paris—through which millions of refugees were routed and from which two million embarked—Lottman weaves micro-histories (think Eduardo Galeano), culled from an encyclopedic range of accounts, into a panoramic, propulsive day-by-day narrative that prominently features the refugee crisis. A compelling read.

By Herbert R. Lottman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fall of Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dramatic chronicle of the fall of one of the world's great cities covers the five weeks leading up to the German capture of Paris in 1940


Book cover of The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940

Austin Denis Johnston Author Of 33 Days: A Memoir

From my list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Twenty years ago I nearly married a French woman and emigrated. I prepared vigorously to become an honorary Frenchman, cramming French history, language, and culture. Ultimately, I neither married nor emigrated, but the passion for that cultural acquisition project never left me, meaning many years of trips, reading, and language study. For the last decade, I've supplemented that interest by looking for historically significant French texts to translate (primarily contemporaneous texts about the World Wars and the interwar period). I have degrees in history and international affairs, plus professional experience in military affairs (including the Office of Secretary of Defense) and editing magazines (for Time, Inc.).

Austin's book list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2

Austin Denis Johnston Why did Austin love this book?

Also for historical context, this is a more traditionally constructed history—though also a masterful synthesis of sources—and among those that view the refugee crisis as having a role in France's defeat. Clear, concise and comprehensive; if you read one book about the fall of France, read this.

By Julian Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fall of France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 16 May 1940 an emergency meeting of the French High Command was called at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris. The German army had broken through the French lines on the River Meuse at Sedan and elsewhere, only five days after launching their attack. Churchill, who had been telephoned by Prime Minister Reynaud the previous evening to be told that the French were beaten, rushed to Paris to meet the French leaders. The mood in the meeting was one of panic and despair; there
was talk of evacuating Paris. Churchill asked Gamelin, the French Commander in Chief, 'Where is the…


Book cover of Suspended Sentences

Patrick Joyce Author Of Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World

From my list on vanishing human worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the son of Irish rural immigrants who at the age of nearly eighty already occupies several vanished worlds myself: London in the 1950s and 60s, the old world of the European peasantry, and a time when the greatest war in human history was still a daily presence. I spent most of my life as an academic historian writing books for an academic audience. Then, to my surprise, at the tender age of seventy, I discovered that I could write prose that had a certain grace and dignity and which seemed to move people as well as inform them. So, I began a second career as what is called a “writer.”   

Patrick's book list on vanishing human worlds

Patrick Joyce Why did Patrick love this book?

I love the writing of Patrick Modiano.

Here, the lost world that is encountered is within the lives and beings of the characters of the three novellas that make up this book, lives and beings that are on one level from Modiano’s own biography but which, in his spare and beautiful prose become of universal moment.

The world in the book is that of the dark years of the Nazi occupation of Paris. That which is fleeting, easily lost, mysterious, and obscure haunts the pages of the book, reminding us of how evanescent and uncertain memory is but also how much our lives are bound by it.

By Patrick Modiano, Mark Polizzotti (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Suspended Sentences as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Elegant. Unpretentious. Approachable. . . . He is, all in all, quite an endearing Nobelist."-Michael Dirda, Washington Post

"Modiano is a pure original."-Adam Thirlwell, The Guardian

"A fine introduction to Modiano's later work."-The Economist

"These novellas have a mood. They cast a spell."-Dwight Garner, New York Times

In this essential trilogy of novellas by the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, French author Patrick Modiano reaches back in time, opening the corridors of memory and exploring the mysteries to be encountered there. Each novella in the volume--Afterimage, Suspended Sentences, and Flowers of Ruin-represents a sterling example of the…


Book cover of Mistress of the Ritz

Nancy Cole Silverman Author Of The Navigator's Daughter

From my list on women of WW2 and their untold stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to travel, and I’m always interested in the history of where I visit, and what unusual and little known stories I might pick up. I spent twenty-five years working in news and talk radio and I suppose that’s why my fingers itch to get to a keyboard when I hear of an event or someone interesting that I’d like to meet on the pages of one of my books. These days it’s where I spend most of my time, crafting mysteries both national and international and always with sense of suspense, and for good measure, a little whimsey.   

Nancy's book list on women of WW2 and their untold stories

Nancy Cole Silverman Why did Nancy love this book?

You never know who can be until you have to be that person to survive.

Women should never underestimate themselves. That was my takeaway from Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin, a true life story about an American woman who worked for the French Resistance during World War II. 

I couldn’t help but be inspired by Blanche Auzello, a young American actress in Paris, who, as the Nazis are taking over the city, chooses to remain in Paris with her husband.

Despite the difficulties of the Nazi occupation, and the growing distance in her relationship with her husband, Blance takes on new challenges and roles she never expected to play that will forever change her life and the lives of those close to her.  

Mistress of the Ritz is the type of historical mystery that, despite knowing the outcome of the war, will keep readers turning pages and wondering...could…

By Melanie Benjamin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mistress of the Ritz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

“A compelling portrait of a marriage and a nation at war from within.”—Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco…


Book cover of Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family's Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris

Stew Ross Author Of Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters?-The False War & Vichy: Volume One A Walking Tour of Nazi-Occupied Paris, 1940−1944

From my list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944.

Why am I passionate about this?

I received my B.S. in geology and spent my career in commercial banking. How did I go from banking to becoming an author? I learned to write as a banker back in the “good old” days when the loan officer had to write their own credit memorandum. I enjoyed it so much I told myself, “One day, I'm going to write a book.” Then I found a book called Walks Through Lost Paris by Leonard Pitt. As my wife and I walked through the streets of Paris, I said, “I can write a book like this.” And so I did. We're about to publish our sixth book in an anticipated series of nine.

Stew's book list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944

Stew Ross Why did Stew love this book?

Dr. Sumner Jackson and his family lived at 11, avenue Foch, sandwiched between Gestapo interrogation offices. It is an extraordinary story of resistance by the head of the American Hospital and his family. They are caught, interrogated, and ultimately deported to various concentration camps.

The author does an excellent job of outlining the Gestapo hierarchy in Paris and describing the Nazis’ brutal methods. The family was classified as prisoners under the “Nacht und Nebel” program (“Night and Fog”) and Mr. Kershaw introduces you to Hitler’s infamous directive. The book also weaves various resistance icons into the story. These include the SOE agents, Violette Szabó, Noor Inayat Khan, and Francis Suttill.

By Alex Kershaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Avenue of Spies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of The Liberator brings to life the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris, and his heroic espionage efforts during World War II.

The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris's hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was…


Book cover of Twenty and Ten

Sandy Brehl Author Of Odin's Promise

From my list on young characters with courage and resistance in WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not Norwegian, or even Scandinavian. My interest in history came from my dad being a veteran after serving in Europe in WWII, even though he talked about it very little. I’ve always loved to read, write, and think, so I especially loved to read WWII stories and share them. After I met new friends on a trip to Norway, people who had lived through the five-year German occupation, I felt compelled to write about their experiences. Their stories, and ones like Snow Treasure, earned my deep respect, compelling me to research, and eventually to write, a novel that might capture the spirit and stories I had heard and loved.

Sandy's book list on young characters with courage and resistance in WWII

Sandy Brehl Why did Sandy love this book?

Reading aloud to students is my ultimate commendation for the best books, with a bonus for books that are short and powerful. Twenty and Ten is based on actual events in a French boarding school during World War II. When ten desperate Jewish children needed a sanctuary to survive, to avoid being sent to concentration camps, the nuns wisely discussed this with the twenty resident children. Those children would need to keep their life-or-death secret. Limited food and resources, barely enough for the twenty, would need to stretch to keep ten more alive, perhaps for years. If discovered, all might be taken, or killed. “What do you think they will do?” and “What would you do?” and “Why?” are among my favorite questions when sharing this book. Amazing conversations follow, for children and adults. Then eager hands reach for copies to read again.

By Claire Huchet Bishop, Janet Joly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twenty and Ten as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Publication Date: 1990 Twenty school children hide ten Jewish children from the Nazis occupying France during World War II


Book cover of The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel

Catherine A. Hamilton Author Of Victoria's War

From my list on inspired by heroic women from around the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a native Oregonian of Polish descent, I was born in the small town of Sweet Home, Oregon. After finishing high school, I moved to Portland where I graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a Master’s degree in psychology. I spent twelve years as a psychotherapist, publishing over a dozen articles. After joining a writing group and trying my hand at fiction, my stories, articles, and poems have been published in magazines and newspapers—including Sarasota Herald-Tribune, The Oregonian, Catholic Sentinel, Dziennik Związkowy, and The Polish American Journal. My debut novel, Victoria’s War, won CIBA’s Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction and was #1 Best Seller on Amazon Kindle Unlimited in German Historical Fiction.

Catherine's book list on inspired by heroic women from around the world

Catherine A. Hamilton Why did Catherine love this book?

We all know the name of the woman behind the perfume—Coco Chanel, right? But how many of us know the story behind this legendary woman? Very few! I didn’t really know the first thing about her! Still, I loved her! In The Queen of Paris, I got to know the woman who created Chânél No.5 and designed the first “little black dress.”

And I learned why Chânél No. 5 is made in Pairs. The secret is this: because the jasmine used in making this particular perfume is only grown in France! No more spoilers! Except to say that Ewen’s Coco enticed me from the start with gossip and truths about one of the most successful women in the fashion industry—and what lengths she was willing to go to save her life’s work during WWII.

A riveting historical novel that I would read again!

By Pamela Binnings Ewen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queen of Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Barnes & Noble Pick of Best Indie eBooks of 2020
An iBooks Bestseller in Fiction
A Pop Sugar Pick of Books set in Paris

Legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel is revered for her sophisticated style—the iconic little black dress—and famed for her intoxicating perfume Chanel No. 5. Yet behind the public persona is a complicated woman of intrigue, shadowed by mysterious rumors. The Queen of Paris, the new novel from award-winning author Pamela Binnings Ewen, vividly imagines the hidden life of Chanel during the four years of Nazi occupation in Paris in the midst of WWII—as discovered in recently…


Book cover of France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944

Yehuda Moraly Author Of Revolution in Paradise: Veiled Representations of Jewish Characters in the Cinema of Occupied France

From my list on French theater and film during German occupation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am teaching Theater studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Among my courses, “The World of Theater in the Reflection of Cinema" was a notable one. My favorite film was Children of Paradise. However, I was taken aback when a friend questioned the film's alleged anti-Semitic elements. I scrutinized the character of the Old-Clothes Man, Josué, noticing his stereotypical Jewish traits. As my research went further, I discovered the original 1942 script, where Josué played a more significant role as an overt Jewish traitor, ultimately slain by the film's hero, Deburau. This revelation prompted extensive research in Paris and Jerusalem, uncovering veiled Jewish portrayals in other French films made during the German occupation.

Yehuda's book list on French theater and film during German occupation

Yehuda Moraly Why did Yehuda love this book?

I like very much the monumental book of Julian Jackson on Vichy and the French Occupation.

Despite its length, Jackson’s book remains engaging throughout. The book delves first into the formative years of Vichy. It sheds light on the political tensions that preceded this period. It elucidates how individuals from various political backgrounds were drawn to this attractive vision of societal rejuvenation. It emphasizes the unclear limits between right and wrong during this challenging era.

The book is very important both for students and researchers.

By Julian Jackson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The French call them 'the Dark Years'...

This definitive new history of Occupied France explores the myths and realities of four of the most divisive years in French history.

Taking in ordinary people's experiences of defeat, collaboration, resistance, and liberation, it uncovers the conflicting memories of occupation which ensure that even today France continues to debate the legacy of the Vichy years.


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Interested in the German occupation of Europe, France, and Paris?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the German occupation of Europe, France, and Paris.

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