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As a young adult in wartime Vienna, Georg Rauch helped his mother hide dozens of Jews from the Gestapo behind false walls in their top-floor apartment and arrange for their safe transport out of the country. His family was among the few who worked underground to resist Nazi rule. Then came the day he was drafted into Hitler's army and shipped out to fight on the Eastern front as part of the German infantry—in spite of his having confessed his own Jewish ancestry. Thus begins the incredible journey of a nineteen year old thrust unwillingly into an unjust war, who must use his smarts, skills, and bare-knuckled determination to stay alive in the trenches, avoid starvation and exposure during the brutal Russian winter, survive more than one Soviet labor camp, and somehow find his way back home. Unlikely Warrior is Rauch's true account of this extraordinary adventure.
After surviving the war, Georg Rauch (1924–2006) spent several years at an alpine TB clinic in Austria. His lifelong love of painting and drawing eventually led him to a successful career in fine art. In 1965, he met his future wife, Phyllis, in Vienna, and in the spring of 1966 they married, eventually settling in Guadalajara, Mexico. In 1984, he began writing his wartime memoir in German and worked with his wife on translating it simultaneously into English. He self-published it in 2006, four months before his death.