Escape from the Edge

Narrow escapes and bold decisions define the life of teenager Morris Schnitzer. Fleeing from Nazi Germany before the onset of World War II, Morris ends up in the Netherlands only to watch the country be invaded by the Nazis. With his father’s warning to never set foot in a concentration camp echoing in his mind, Morris resolves to fight — and survive. As he assumes false identities and crosses endless borders in search of safety, Morris never acquiesces to the Nazi occupiers in Western Europe. In his epic journey to Escape from the Edge, Morris endures imprisonment and gruelling work as a farmhand, joins the resistance in Belgium and ultimately enlists in the American army, vowing to take revenge for all that he has lost.

Introduction by Bob Moore

At a Glance
Germany; the Netherlands; France; Belgium
Passing/false identity
Postwar Netherlands
Arrived in Canada in 1947
Audiobook available
Educational materials available: Hearing History: A Holocaust Survivor Memoir Read Aloud

196 pages, including index

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Morris Schnitzer

About the author

Morris Schnitzer was born in Bochum, Germany, in 1922. In 1947, he immigrated to Montreal, where he earned both a BSc and MSc at McGill University, going on to earn his PhD in 1955. In Ottawa, Morris worked at the Canadian government’s Department of Agriculture as a principal researcher in the chemistry of soil organic matter. He won the prestigious Wolf Prize in Agriculture in 1995 and wrote three books and more than four hundred scientific papers over the course of his distinguished career. Morris Schnitzer passed away in Ottawa in 2020.

And there I was one evening at the end of December 1942, a free man in Brussels. A German Jew. Via the Netherlands. Via Switzerland. Via France. I was free in Brussels! I didn’t know anyone. I had never lived in Belgium. A war was on. What was I supposed to do now?