A Harrowing Journey for Survival

Can Greta Kolbe escape Nazi Vienna and reach America before her past and the Gestapo catch up to her?

About the Author

Don Gabor is the author of How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends and seven other books and audio programs on communication skills that have sold nearly a million copies worldwide. Don has presented communication workshops to corporations and small businesses, associations, and colleges since 1981. He was a member of the National Speakers Association for 20 years and was the 2010–2011 President of the New York City chapter. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife, Eileen, and their cat, Ruby.

Photo Credit: Ed Lefkowicz

About Vienna on Fire

Vienna on Fire by Don Gabor captures the harrowing journey of Greta Kolbe, an 18-year-old Jewish woman in 1938 Nazi-occupied Austria, whose comfortable life has spiraled into intimidation, chaos, and terror. Ordered to police headquarters for questioning about her resistance activities, Greta flees Vienna for the Netherlands and a New York-bound steamer. Relentlessly pursued by the Gestapo, a Dutch bounty hunter, and a vengeful ex-suitor-turned-Nazi, she narrowly escapes arrest, rape, and death. Minutes before the ship sets sail, Greta faces her enemies for a final life-or-death confrontation.


Vienna on Fire provides a gripping and historically accurate account of the resilience of the human spirit amid the darkest of times.”

—Erin Britton, San Francisco Book Review

“Don Gabor has created a story that no student of history or of human nature can afford to miss. Especially in our own troubling and divisive times, Gabor’s Holocaust narrative reminds all of us how completely liberty depends on individual courage.”

—Jacquelyn Mitchard, NYT #1 Bestselling author, The Deep End of the Ocean

“Readers seeking exceptional portraits of Jewish survivors in general and strong young women who foster different responses to escape and survival, refusing to become victims, will find Vienna on Fire absolutely captivating.”

—D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Featured Interview

Munn Avenue Muse

Don knows the art of "small talk". But that's just the beginning. He talks about about his search for answers into family history with secrets that it would not let go. Instead, he turned that hidden history into a novel that is sure to excite. Join us as we learn about Don's own history and how his journey lead him to write a captivating story.

Lili (standing) ran the Blau Parfumerie with Otto. / Advertisement for Lillotte Perfume

1930s Vienna

March 12, 1938: The Anschluss

In January 1938, life was good for many of Vienna’s 200,000 Orthodox and non-religious Jews, and about 80,000 people of mixed Jewish-Christian background. All that changed on the morning of March 12, 1938, when the German army marched, unopposed, across the border and instituted the Anschluss—Hitler’s unification of Germany and Austria into one state. The soldiers were welcomed by thousands of cheering Christian Austrians with Nazi salutes, Nazi flags, and flowers. But Vienna’s Jewish Community was thrust into chaos, terror, and darkness for the next seven years.