It was after becoming refugees to Britain that the Freud family story takes another dramatic turn. Following their escape from Austria, both Sigmund’s son Martin and his grandson Walter found themselves behind barbed wire in the early part of the war. To secure a release, they both enlisted in the British Forces from internment camps. Walter Freud went on to train with SOE alongside other ex-Austrian refugees. Finally in 1945, his moment came and he was dropped behind enemy lines back into Austria in a daring night mission. The drop was a disaster and Walter found himself surviving alone in Nazi-held territory. With typical charisma he continued the aim of the mission without his colleagues and captured the strategic Zeltweg airfield in Southern Austria. Without a single back-up unit either, he successfully lied and convinced the German commander that he was acting on the orders of Montgomery, and the airfield was handed over to him before the Russians could take it.
Using previously unpublished family archives and photographs, including correspondence and Sigmund Freud’s diary, the biography opens a window onto the Freuds’ family life in pre-war Vienna as well as wartime Britain. Freuds’ War is an intimate portrayal of a family that lived after Sigmund’s own death in 1939 within his shadow. Whilst researching in the Freud family archives, Helen stumbled across a German manuscript in a suitcase. It turned out to be a lost WW2 novel by Sigmund’s eldest son Martin Freud. The novel has now been translated and published as Any Survivors?
Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written numerous books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain. Her highly acclaimed book The King’s Most Loyal Enemy Aliens: Germans who Fought for Britain in the Second World War received international media coverage. The book is now out in paperback as Churchill’s Secret Soldiers. Helen has worked closely with war veterans with whom she has built up a special rela...
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