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The Life of Oswald Rufeisen
Nechama Tec

“A stirring portrait of a Jewish rescuer during the holocaust and its aftermath. In the Lion’s Den tells the remarkable story of Oswal Rufeisen, a Jew passing as a Christian in occupied Poland. Relying on his ability to speak fluent German and pass as half German and half Polish in Mir, Rufgeisen earned the trust ana affection of the German commander of the gendarmerie, risking his life to sabotage Nazi plans and pass secret information to Jews and Christians about impending ‘aktions.’ Eventually caught, Refeisen’s narrow escape led him to spend the rest of the war fighting in a Russian partisan unit.

“Illuminating the intricate connections between good and evil, cruelty and compassion, and Judaism and Christianity, Tec captures the complex and precarious world in which Jewish resisters survive and fought during World War II.

“Nechama Tec is Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of Connecticut, Stamford. She is the author of several books, including Defiance, now a major motion picture; Dry Tears, a memoir of her experiences during the Nazi occupation of Poland; and, most recently, Resilience and Courage.”  [From the cover]

“Remarkable and heroic …”  Jerusalem Post

“An unusual tale of heroism and survival during World War II … Tech makes Rufeisen’s life into a testament that the individual may not only endure but prove his moral strength when confronted with evil.” Library Journal


  1. Before and Into the War
  2. In Search of Solutions
  3. Imprisonment
  4. Life on the Farm
  5. Becoming Someone Else
  6. the Town of Mir
  7. Becoming a Police Officer
  8. Working for the Authorities
  9. The savior of Simakowo
  10. Involvement with the Ghetto
  11. Organizing the Escape
  12. Exodus and Confrontation
  13. Conversion
  14. Moving to the Forest
  15. Life as a Partisan
  16. Becoming a Carmelite Monk and a Priest
  17. A Catholic Jew?
  18. AN Independent Life

Oxford University Press, ©1990, Soft cover, 292 pages