The incredible true story of a man who survived three Nazi concentration camps and a bombing raid by the Royal Air Force.
As the Nazis herded Wim Aloserij and other prisoners onto the luxurious German cruise liner Cap Arcona, Wim Aloserij hoped his war hell was finally over.
At the very least, he reasoned, they’d be living in luxury while they awaited the inevitable freedom that the end of the war would bring.
Then, with the roar of fighter engines and a hail of rockets, the reality set in.
RAF Typhoons led by decorated pilot Johnny Baldwin had been sent to attack, not to liberate, the ships anchored in the Bay of Lubeck, believing they were full of fleeing Nazi chiefs.
The gilded prison ship was struck by missile after missile.
Wim looked around the ornate ballroom, baffled by the horror that was unfolding in front of him.
The dance floor was littered with severed limbs, the injured howled in agony, and the once-pristine white paneling was stained red with blood.
Those who managed to avoid the bombs jumped into the freezing sea, only to be shot by German soldiers aboard other ships, as SS chief Heinrich Himmler had ordered that “no prisoners should fall into enemy hands alive.”
When faced with the choice of certain death aboard a burning ship or a slim chance of survival at sea, the young Dutchman chose the latter.
Wim’s story is one of the last and most incredible to emerge from WWII.
Wim only felt able to unburden himself of his memories to Dutch author Frank Krake for his book The Last Survivor, which has now been translated into English, when he was in his 90s.
Wim died in March 2018, aged 94, not long after finishing the emotionally draining task.
“I met Wim when he came to hear one of my other books,” Frank recalls.
“We were just chatting when he began to tell me about his childhood in Amsterdam, how he was forced to work in Germany, and finally his time in concentration camps.”
“I felt compelled to write a book with him because it was such an incredible story of survival.”
He had married and raised a family, but he rarely spoke about his experiences with them.
He was adamant about not wanting it.
“Brinkwire News Summary.”