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The remarkable story of Fred Mayer, a German-born Jew who escaped Nazi Germany only to return as an American commando on a secret mission behind enemy lines.

Growing up in Germany, Freddy Mayer witnessed the Nazis' rise to power. When he was sixteen, his family made the decision to flee to the United States - they were among the last German Jews to escape, in 1938.

In America, Freddy tried enlisting the day after Pearl Harbor, only to be rejected as an "enemy alien" because he was German. He was soon recruited to the OSS, the country's first spy outfit before the CIA. Freddy, joined by Dutch Jewish refugee Hans Wynberg and Nazi defector Franz Weber, parachuted into Austria as the leader of Operation Greenup, meant to deter Hitler's last stand. He posed as a Nazi officer and a French POW for months, dispatching reports to the OSS via Hans, holed up with a radio in a nearby attic. The reports contained a goldmine of information, provided key intelligence about the Battle of the Bulge, and allowed the Allies to bomb twenty Nazi trains. On the verge of the Allied victory, Freddy was captured by the Gestapo and tortured and waterboarded for days. Remarkably, he persuaded the Nazi commander for the region to surrender, completing one of the most successful OSS missions of the war.

Based on years of research and interviews with Mayer himself, whom the author was able to meet only months before his death at the age of ninety-four, Return to the Reich is an eye-opening, unforgettable narrative of World War II heroism.



About the Author

Eric Lichtblau

ERIC LICHTBLAU is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the best-selling author of "The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men," and "Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice." Lichtblau was a Washington reporter for the New York Times for fifteen years from 2002-2017 and for the Los Angeles Times for fifteen years before that. He has also written during his career for the New Yorker, TIME, and other publications, reporting extensively on national security, terrorism, law enforcement, civil rights, political corruption, war crimes, and other issues. He earned a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for stories revealing the existence of a secret NSA wiretapping program approved after the Sept. 11 attacks, and a second Pulitzer in 2017 as part of a team investigating links between the Trump administration and Russia in the 2016 campaign. He has been a frequent guest on NPR, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and other networks, as well as a speaker at many universities and institutions. His latest book, Return to the Reich: A Holocaust Refugee's Secret Mission to Defeat the Nazis, will be released in October 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. He lives outside Washington, D.C.



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