Dr. William B. Stanford
Lizzi & Fredl: A Perilous Journey of Love and Faith



A MUST READ Experience! by George_Samuel

Reader Rating: Posted September 15, 2009:


Quite simply, this is the next "Schindler's List", or at least it should be if Hollywood has any brains left. I was captivated from page one, experiencing for myself all the emotions that these two special people must have felt through their harrowing experiences fleeing the Nazis through World War II Europe.

This is the story that so many parents, grandparents, and great grandparents were unable to speak about after escaping the Holocaust. My compliments to Dr. Stanford for not only convincing his parents to share their memories, but also for doing such thorough research and penning such a well-written work. There were points where I literally could not read fast enough to keep my pulse from racing. Other times I found myself crying, cheering, even praying for their safety. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough, and I'm certain that somewhere, Lizzi and Fredl are very proud of their son.



A Powerful Story of Love and Faith

Reader Rating


Posted October 4, 2008, 4:22 PM EST:


This is a poignant, powerful story of survival and the power of love. Set during the growing tyranny of the Nazi regime, the book chronicles the horrors and sacrifices that Lizzi and Fredl faced in their desperate escape from their Austrian homeland. While we have heard many accounts of Jewish people escaping the Nazis, this is the dramatic, touching, historically accurate story of two Catholics whose decision to oppose the Nazi overthrow of their native Austria forced them into a long, tortuous journey. Most poignant for me was the love that Lizzi and Fredl had for one another and how its power literally save their lives. The history has been meticulously researched, which adds to the intensity of the narrative. It is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the enduring power of love, no matter how horrendous the force of history may become. It's so uplifting!




A book from and for the heart and soul.


Reader Rating Posted August 19, 2008, 9:27 PM EST:


I have read this outstanding book and have considered it a privilege to do so. As the junior high Language Arts teacher at St. Callistus School in Garden Grove, I found this book to be an account written from the heart and soul for the heart and soul. It is a magnificent account of faith, love, determination, and courage that truly speaks about the horrific events of the holocaust. The book realtes the 'real' account of two people who are very much in love with each other and this love, based in faith, brings them through many trials as their very existence hangs in the balance. Without a doubt this book needs to be cherished and shared.





A Tremendous Story I'll Never Forget

 Reader Rating


Posted June 13, 2008, 1:32 PM EST:


I have never been so inspired by a book-- fiction or non-fiction. It is a testament to the beauty and strength of the human spirit, even in the most trying of times. Lizzi and Fredl were true heroes, as were the people who helped them along the way. This book is a small but important piece of history that must never be forgotten. The story telling is beautiful, and the photos are incredible-- unlike anything I've ever seen. Thank you, Dr. Stanford, for sharing this amazing story. Lizzi and Fredl are undoubtedly smiling down on you, bursting with pride.




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Lizzi & Fredl: A Perilous Journey of Love and Faith during WWII


5 Feb 13th, 2010 


Genre: Biography, Memoir

The author (who is the son of Lizzi & Fredl) writes in the Preface:-

I wrote this book to honour my parents and their innumerable sacrifices and to share with the world how unconditional love and faith in God carried them through their darkest crisis.

In August 1938 Lizzi (26) and Fredl (27) Steiner had been married for 5 years and were living in Vienna, Austria when papers arrived for Fredl from the Republic of Germany demanding that he report in a few days to an aviation factory in Munich to work on delicate timing devices for bombs. Fredl, a Master Jeweller, and a Catholic, had no intention of working for a madman and they decided that their only choice was to flee Austria ...... this novel is the incredible story of their 7 year odyssey to freedom ............
On the run

After illegally crossing the frontier between Germany and France, they caught a train and arrived in Paris to stay with Fredl's niece.

After just over 3 weeks they had to leave Paris as the Nazis were getting nearer so they travelled south to Rouen where they both found work and "the threat of Hitler and the Nazi regime seemed a world away." Until one day in August 1939 when Fredl was summoned to the Rouen police station and informed that, in anticipation of war, the French government was planning to mobilize Austrian expats to be part of the French Army - then war broke out in September and Fredl had to report to a military facility.

This was the first time they had been separated and from then on the book divides into chapters alternating with Lizzi's life and Fredl's life, so we know what each of them was doing at the same time, which made for fascinating reading.


Due to the outbreak of war, and because she was a refugee Lizzi was sent to an internment camp in Orleans, then Nevers, and after being interrogated she was free to leave and find somewhere to live and work, which she did. She had to register with the local police station and the refugee centre where she was given a small amount of money each week.

There was no Austrian legion and Fredl also went to an internment camp called Varimpre for 11 weeks and then moved to Lisieux. He realised they were no longer refugees, they were prisoners in a makeshift concentration camp.


During this time Lizzi and Fredl were able to write to each other and Lizzi found work in an airplane parts factory which was hard labour but it kept her mind from worrying about Fredl. and on Christmas Eve 1939 Lizzi was granted leave to visit the camp for one day.

31 March 1940 there was a mass exodus from Nevers to the south of France as the Germans were only 30kms to the north. Lizzi met some deserting French soldiers and went with them to the town of Bergerac, which was high in the mountains, and where she felt safe for a little while making friends and finding work. She realised that there were many people in the same difficult position as her, displaced from their native lands, displaced from their families and friends, displaced from normal life in general. They had such unknown futures.


The camp was evacuated to Damigny, a town further south, as Hitler's Army were getting nearer. Here, a delegation from the Red Cross talked to the men about their conditions and a week later their food improved and the Captain of the camp was replaced.

19 April 1940 they were moved again in a nightmare 28 hour freight train journey where hundreds of men were crammed in and had to stand up as they couldn't move. They were literally treated like cattle. They arrived at Bassens concentration camp, north of Bordeaux.

Incredibly, one morning in June they woke up to find that the gates were open and the guards gone - so everyone walked out of the camp! Fredl walked to a displaced persons centre in Gurs where he stayed for 2 months. Talking to a new man in the camp one day he was told that Lizzi may be in Bergerac ....... Fredl immediately took a train there and an emotional reunion followed.

After 6 weeks the police took Fredl away in a major sweep, and many of the men were taken to a labour camp at Saint-Sauveur, near Bellac. He was assigned a job of cutting trees and paid half a franc a day. It is here that Fredl became ill with heart failure, pneumonia and angina and is treated in a hospital. Even though he is at his lowest ebb the thought of Lizzi and the end of the war kept him alive and having something to aim for - they often talked of emigrating to America and starting a new life - this was their dream.

The story continues in this way, with Fredl being moved around France and the years went by and

fear and distrust were emotions that needed to be heeded closely. Survival was of paramount importance, and misguided trust could prove to be fatal.

I won't give away any more of this story but, suffice to say, at times they were both incredibly lucky and I thought, more than once, that so many people weren't as fortunate as they were, and it really makes you think about the sacrifices people made and what awful times they went through.

There are also some wonderful pictures in the book, particularly of people they met in France, and also of Fredl's time in one of the camps where he was tree-cutting which I found fascinating.

This was such a moving story which I found hard to put down at times, and I would recommend it, not just as a love story, but if you're interested in WWII, and of how the refugees were treated in France.
Where Did I Obtain The Book?

The author, Dr William Stanford's agent sent it to me for a review, but you can buy it from Amazon.co.uk for £14.00 (Paperback) £18.05 (Hardback), Amazon.com for $27.95. Also the author's website is very interesting and informative with some lovely pictures: http://www.drwilliambstanford.com