Escape through the Pyrenees

Escape through the Pyrenees


Though it reads like a suspense novel, this memoir is Lisa Fittko's extraordinary story of life as an „enemy alien“ in France before and after the German invasion of 1940. Escaping a French prison, Fittko and her husband found their way to the Pyrenees and, while awaiting permission to enter Spain, helped hundreds of refugees, including Walter Benjamin, escape deportation, torture, and death at the hands of the Nazis.

Lisa Fittko (1909.–2005.) was born in a Jewish family in Uzhhorod in today's Ukraine what was then Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. After moving with her family in Berlin, she witnessed the Nazis' rise to power and became active in anti-fascistic politics. She worked as an undercover resistance fighter in Berlin, Prague (where she met her husband and comrade Hans Fittko), Amsterdam, Paris, Marseille, and finally the Pyrenees. She helped many escape from Nazi-occupied France during World War II. The author of two memoirs about wartime Europe, Fittko is also known for her assisting German philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin in getting out of France to escape the Nazis in 1940. With her husband Hans, she escaped to Cuba, and from there entered the United States. She came to international recognition over forty years later through her two widely translated memoirs, in which she describes her actions.

  • Cover: paperback
  • Year of the edition: 2020.
  • Original title: Escape Through the Pyrenees
  • Original language: English
  • Translation: Nadežda Čačinovič