"AT THE age of 19, one doesn’t think too much about consequences,” Stanmore writer Henry Wermuth says of his plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
It was in 1942, while in a labour camp, Klaj, in southern Poland, when a young Henry heard that the Nazi leader was visiting his troops in the camp, following the recent heavy losses at Stalingrad, in a bid to boost morale.
A young Henry wanted to seize a rare opportunity.
He said: “It was only a few months after my mother and little sister were taken to an extermination camp.
“At that time I didn’t know that they, most probably, had been killed on the first day.
“I wanted the war to end and have them back.”
At the time, Henry could smuggle himself in and out of the camp with relative ease and, on the eve of Hitler’s arrival, planted stones and logs on the tracks in a bid to derail the train.
The assassination attempt, recognised by the German government, who awarded Mr Wermuth with a medal in 1995, was unsuccessful as the tracks had seemingly been cleared and the train proceeded uninterrupted.
During the Second World War, Mr Wermuth endured and survived a total of nine concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and one ghetto.
Now an author, the 90-year-old is living in Gleneagles, Stanmore, where he has resided since 2008.
His first book, Breathe Deeply My Son, is a renowned memoir detailing his tragic and astonishing survival story, but coming to terms with his experiences and documenting them was a tough journey.
It was finally published in 1993, taking him more than 40 years to put pen to paper.
It was never going to be easy.
After all, Mr Wermuth was naturally left scarred by living through the holocaust at such a young age.
“I was 10 when Hitler came to power,” he said.
“I did not understand much about politics, but I noticed disturbed faces among the adults.”
Managing to survive through such horrors was one challenge, but adopting to life afterwards after having lost his family, including his beloved sister Hanna, was another.
“Young people acclimatise themselves faster than adults,” he said. “But for 25 years I lived without religion.
“Naturally I have shed tears, but, having no graves to cry on, my tears were soaked up by my pillows.”
In due course, Mr Wermuth reconciled himself with Judaism, but the struggle to reconnect was long and profound.
“I have been bewildered by God’s apparent neglect of his children,” he said.
The best-selling author found the answers he was looking for in the end, however.
“I found that being without religion means living without hope. Only after 64 years did I find an unpalatable answer to my question: ‘How is it possible for God to be merciful and almighty?’ My answer is that death has not the same meaning for God as it has for people.”
With his adventure novels, The Rescue of the Murdered Consul’s Children, The Exchanged Heir and the upcoming In Pursuit of Slave Hunters, Mr Wermuth has found direction in his writing with a prolific career that was spawned by his memoirs.
But it is perhaps as a form of escapism.
Mr Wermuth adds: “None of these books have any connection with the Holocaust.
“My preferences are adventure books, but I wanted to write something of interest to everybody.
“Hence my books contain everything except, I am sorry to say, explicit sex.
“Adventure, heroism, crime, romances, humour and, of course, punishment.”
? Henry Wermuth’s next book, In Pursuit of Slave Hunters will be released next month, and will be available on hardback for £12.99 from Amazon and can be ordered from other book stores.