BE NOT FEARFUL by John Furman


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This is a pleasantly diverting book by a British army officer who escaped from prison camp in Italy in the last war. Making his way south towards allied lines, he was befriended by Italians in the town of Sulmona where he lived in hiding for some time until picked up for forced labour (along with the local males). He escaped from that camp, too, before he was found out as an English P.O.W., and eventually got to Rome where some Irish priests in the Vatican operated a hide-away system for escaped British prisoners. Colonel Furman made contact with this group and worked with them, bringing food to prisoners hiding in various Roman flats. When the group was betrayed, Furman was thrown into an ordinary Roman prison from which there seemed no escape. However, as the allies advanced north, the military prisoners were put into box cars headed for Germany, and, as the train moved northward, Furman managed once again to escape. He and another escapee then got some civilian clothes and bicycles and proceeded to bicycle south -- in spite of road blocks and identity cards -- back to Rome. The risks which Furman was willing to take in order not to be a prisoner were quite astonishing, but then so was the fact that so many did escape until, indeed, many Italian towns were clandestine English colonies for the duration.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1962
Publisher: Roy