Cover image for Tomorrow will be better : surviving Nazi Germany
Tomorrow will be better : surviving Nazi Germany
Meyer, Walter, 1926-2015.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Columbia : University of Missouri Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 201 pages : maps ; 21 cm
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D805.G3 M488 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



How does a young German who has been a member of the Hitler Youth and has competed in Nazi-organized athletic competitions become, over the span of two years, an eighty-pound, tuberculosis-stricken concentration camp escapee?

In this larger-than-life memoir, Walter Meyer leads readers from one harrowing moment to the next as he recounts his experiences during and after Hitler's reign. As a teenager, Meyer refused to conform to institutional rules. While serving in the Hitler Youth, he rebelled by joining a subversive group that focused its efforts on pranks against the youth organization. During World War II, Meyer was arrested, interrogated, and beaten for stealing shoes, but he received a sentence of one to four years, as opposed to the standard penalty for looting--death.

The sixteen-year-old Meyer's refusal to conform to prison regulations and his foiled escape attempts resulted in solitary confinement on several occasions. His fiery spirit eventually landed him in a Nazi work camp. Unbeknownst to his family, Meyer became a concentration camp prisoner. Transported to Ravensbrueck, he was forced to work under grueling conditions in a quarry. He struggled to reach his daily work quota so he could dine on watery broth and bits of bread. In these subhuman conditions, Meyer developed tuberculosis. Knowing he would soon die in the camp, he again plotted his escape. This time he succeeded.

Upon returning home to Duesseldorf, Meyer despaired at the destruction of his hometown. He lamented the pallor that had spread throughout the town and the country itself. After recovering his health, he regained his youthful lust for adventure. His postwar travels began with his infiltration of the Russian-occupied zone of Germany to retrieve his family's possessions. Meyer then began a whirlwind odyssey, ducking into train cars and stowing away on ships, occasionally landing in jail for traveling without a passport--from France to Spain, Belgium to Holland, and finally to South America--in pursuit of something other than the aftermath of war.

Meyer's memoir gives insight into the climate in Germany during World War II and in the defeated nation after the war. His experience as a non-Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camps provides an enlightening and varied perspective to the Holocaust dialogue.

Author Notes

Walter Meyer now resides in Austin, Texas. He has taught, painted, farmed, raised horses, and served as interpreter to President Lyndon B. Johnson, to name just a few of his colorful pursuits.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Meyer joined the Hitler Youth, or Hitler Jugend (HJ), at age 14 out of pragmatism rather than ideology. His rebelliousness against authority, however, led him and some friends to start a Dsseldorf chapter of the Edelweisspiraten, a subversive group that harassed the HJ with pranks, leading to Meyers arrest and eventual imprisonment at the Ravensbrck concentration camp. Written in a popular style, this account of his suffering at the camp (where he contracted tuberculosis); daring escape; and odyssey traveling across Europe without papers and relying on his wits, language skills, and artistic talent make for a gripping story. Although this book adds to the literature regarding political prisoners and non-Jewish victims of the Nazis, readers will no doubt be disappointed that the story ends abruptly in 1949 with Meyer on a ship anchored off Argentina, leaving one to wonder how he eventually earned three doctorates, made his way to Texas, and served as an interpreter for President Lyndon Johnson. One error: the author incorrectly refers to Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg as a woman. Recommended for public libraries and specialized Holocaust collections.John A. Drobnicki, York Coll., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Prologuep. 1
The Old Countryp. 4
From Altar Boy to Inmatep. 11
Solitary Confinementp. 41
The Holy Trinity and the Blood Brothersp. 56
Will Today Be the Day?p. 69
A Taste of Freedomp. 94
Coming Homep. 99
Last Ritesp. 112
New Flags, New Bordersp. 122
Leaving Homep. 139
The Secret Handshakep. 151
Sailor and Artistp. 161
Stowawayp. 187
The New Worldp. 195
About the Author