Recent nonfiction briefly noted . . .; The Jews who avoided Nazi detection The Last Jews in Berlin, by Leonard Gross. New York: Simon & Schuster. 349 pp.
The scene: Berlin, 1943. A German woman, Marushka, watches defiantly as two Gestapo agents search her home for Jews. Their attention turns to her sofa bed. ''You think there's someone hiding in the couch,'' shouts Marushka, ''there's one way you can find out. . . . Take your gun and shoot through the couch.'' Under Marushka's glare, the Nazis keep their guns in their holsters and finally stalk out of her apartment. Half an hour later Hans, her Jewish fiance, emerges from inside the sofa bed - shaken, but unharmed.
Hans was one of several hundred Jews who managed to survive World War II in the very heart of the Third Reich., They lived by their wits - without ration cards or legal IDs - in constant danger of discovery. ''The Last Jews in Berlin'' tells the story of Hans and a handful of others, known as ''U-boats'' for their ability to swim beneath the surface of Nazi society. Based on extensive interviews and authenticated as far as possible, this nonfiction book is as suspenseful as any novel - a memorial to human courage and hope.