Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Nazi Officers Wife

I'm not at all qualified to write a book review, but I want to share my layperson's thoughts on the book I'm reading right now.

It's an autobiography - true stories are always my favorite - about a Jewish woman in Austria during World War II. I love biographies, love reading about the World War II era, so this already has a lot going for it.

Here's the amazing part: unlike the Jewish men and women in "The Hiding Place" and Anne Frank, Edith Hahn spent a good portion of the Holacaust hiding right out in the open. As the wife of a German Nazi officer.

After being sent to labor on a German farm and then a paper factory, Edith was sent back to Austria to travel with her family to the ghettos in Poland. However, her family was shipped out before she got home and she decided to take a huge risk - she took the star off her coat and didn't report as scheduled to go to Poland. Instead, she found a friend willing to lie to Nazi officials, telling them she lost her official papers declaring her an Aryan. She was issued a second set, which she gave to Edith. Because they had now both assumed the same identity, Edith could no longer live in the same town as her friend so she fled. To Germany, the thick of the Nazi regime.

A German man falls in love with her and marries her even after she confesses that she is actually Jewish. And so for the remainder of the war, she lives in Nazi Germany as the wife of a German man who later becomes an officer in the Nazi army. Not only is she thought to be a good German citizen, but as a German housewife and mother, she is one of Germany's prized possessions!

Obviously what she endured was not as horrific as the suffering those in labor camps were put through. But still to read about what she went through is fascinating! To be greeted by "Heil Hitler" and pictures of the man who was destroying her family and friends everywhere she went, to listen to conversations praising "our great Fuhrer" and say nothing, all the while not knowing if her family was dead or was so interesting! She was a highly educated, intelligent woman who assumed a character of a simple-minded Red Cross volunteer to survive.

It's not the best book I've ever read about this era, but it's definitely a different look at how some Jewish people survived! I give my hightly sought after recommendation :-)

1 comment:

Katie said...

I have this book too! I agree with you, I really liked it and the different point of view the author shared with us. :)