NO SPOILERS This is a four star book Recently another GR friend rated this with three stars, and to be honest, I was flabbergasted HOW CAN YOU NOT BE MOVED BY THIS BOOK zinged through my head I will try and explain without giving spoilers First of all, if you are the kind of person, like me, that highly values straight talk, and talk that does not shy away from ANY subject sex, love, cruelty, motherhood, lying, corruption, guilt and survival then this is a book for you Edith will say Now remember this to jolt you She will say Now maybe you are questioning how I could and then she explains so clearly and so succinctly that what before seemed strange is know dazzingly obvious The fantastic prose hits you from the first page Then as you get to know Edith Grete you are drawn into her moral dilemas, the choices she made When I picked up this book, honestly, I had a completely different view of Edith I was a bit disgusted at the thought of a Jewish woman who survived the holocaust by marrying a Nazi officer I thought she was self centered Well, she isn t Not at all She is a wonderful, kind person who suffered terribly during the war Terribly She never lost her integrity Never You get completely the wrong idea of Edith by reading that title The title IS perfect, but you have to read the book to understand This book is about people and how we all react differently when shit hits the fan You come to empathize with Chrstl, Elisabeth, Pepi, Werner, Doctor Maria Nierderall, Klothilde, and I shouldn t stop here b c the list goes on and on Not all of these people acted admirably, but what they did you come to understand That is why I used the word empathy This book focuses on how people behave and why they behave as they do, not delivered as a lecture, but simply by throwing a spotlight on them This is a book about the holocaust, but don t think it is devoid of humor I promise you, people are just so unbelievably funny What they come up with is utterly amaing and absurdly funny and wonderful Another very interesting issue is what Edith did with her education as a lawyer judge How it meandered AFTER the war To tell you would be a spoiler, but it is a very interesting point How other Jews and Germans have reacted to Edith after the war is also revealing I could go on and on Instead read the book Through page 153 Most people do not have the courage to be kind Most often kindness doesn t demand courage, but sometimes it does and then who is strong enough, brave enough to jeopardize their own security for another human being Such people are to be found on BOTH sides of any conflict In this case, some were Nazis others were gentiles and others Jews Finally, someone, a complete stranger, a Nazi, reaches out and helps Edith with explicit, exact instructions, devoid of emotion He turned away The interview was over I had never listened so hard to anything in my life Every word was printed on my mind He did not wish me luck He did not ask for money He did not say good bye I never saw him again He saved my life With these words you see how this author expresses herself in telling her story.Through page 147 I like this book very much Look at Edith s chin on the front cover Look at her eyes Her chin shows her relentless will to get through this mess Her eves hold something back Her strength is visible, but it is at the same time cautious She is back in Vienna and alone In all senses She doesn t know where she can sleep or where she will get her next meal People who were close to her are gone And those who remain, like her boyfriend Well read her tale I have noted many sections that I should quote, but it is terribly difficult to pick just one They show that she is a person like all the rest of us simply trying to get through this mess, at the same time retaining an ounce of integrity This book shows how many different people behave when put in a tight spot Or should I say when stamped on Each behaves differently, some better than others, but the focus is on each idividual behavior Unpretentious writing from start to finish You can relate to her thoughts and experiencesThrough page 23 I love this, absolutely love this book Why Well it is all in the ability of the author to write anchanting prose Very simple, very down to earth and with humor The following lines are from page 9 have you heard that the Russians are cannibals Have you heard that they eat their young Yes, sir And do you believe that I took a chance Some people do, sir But I think if the russians ate their babies, there would not be so many Russians as there apparently are He Laughed He had warm humorous and a gentle manner He even reminded me a little of my grandfather..This is a memoir about a Jewish woman who survived WW2 How By being the wife of a Nazi officer Before starting I Will return to reading about Armenia, but first this since Maude and I want to read a book together 0 So many have siad this must be read And I always love memoirs. Edith Hahn was one of the few Jews hiding in plain sight in the Reich during the Second World War Jews who evaded deportation were known as U boats Those who could pass for Aryan in looks and had the right connections could take their chances living on falsified papers That s how Edith Hahn, 29 year old Austrian law student, became Grete Denner, meek 21 year old nurse s aid living in Munich Every day she lived in fear of capture She couldn t use food ration or clothing coupons because it would tip off the authorities She took a job at the Red Cross specifically because they did less background checks and fed their nurses on site.When Edith, now Grete, caught the eye of Nazi officer Werner Vetter, it seemed like a stroke of bad luck that could expose her But it wound up being what saved her So besotted by her, Werner didn t turn her into the Gestapo but rather married her Edith fell into the roll of the submissive, dutiful hausefrau expected of German women That made Werner happy, and making him happy kept her alive But there was also true love between them I think that was one of the genuine surprises of the book, that Edith could fall in love with a man who viewed her blood as racially inferior But Edith would be quick to point out that no one person was all good or all bad Sometimes it was the most brutal SS man who saved your life, and the sweetest old lady who betrayed you for a few coins.I found Edith s story really compelling I found some of her decisions hard to understand, but, then again, I ve never been in her shoes One thing I really appreciated was the unique insight into the German collective psyche during the war After V Day, you couldn t find a single Nazi in all of the country everyone was against the regime and always had been But during the war, many Germans would candidly speak to each other about things they would later deny ever saying or even thinking Posing as a fellow upstanding Aryan, Edith was a first hand witness to this.The one problem with this book is that it isn t organized as well as it could be People are mentioned, forgotten, and then mentioned again much later with no reminder for the reader who they are The author also does not utilize dates nearly enough Overall, though, pretty good memoir from a woman with a unique life story. It annoys me hearing millennials whine about how they need faster internet and all the latest cell phones before anyone bites my head off, I m of the millennial generation myself so I m not trying to be prejudiced People of my generation take everything they have, not just their material items but also their rights and freedoms, for granted This book tells the story of a woman whose freedom was taken from her, living a life in constant fear, having to hide her very ethnicity just to protect herself, her husband an SS officer and her daughter chilling stuff, very disturbing realities are documented here, and yet there s a light at the end of the tunnel for this brave woman Definitely an excellent book worth reading. What makes this memoir of an Austrian Jewish woman relentlessly moving is the attention to detail, the sharp incisive nature of Hahn s observations These eloquently described details bring the narrative vividly to life The title is slightly misleading and hints perhaps at a cinematic melodrama which does this book a disservice Her husband was a painter, blind in one eye and thus spent most of the war working as a kind of foreman in a paint factory Only when the Nazis were on the verge of defeat and desperate was he conscripted and made an officer He is essentially a good man, not at all synonymous with the term Nazi Officer She does a brilliant job of portraying the constant terrors of being trapped in a world where you are being hunted Most poignantly of all she gets us to understand that everyone almost always has the choice of being kind or unkind, no matter what the circumstances True, to show kindness often takes courage but Hahn shows us that courage is no less a part of our humanity than charity It s essentially an incredibly gripping and moving story of kindness and unkindness And as Hahn points out It was the individuals who made their own rules in many situations No one forced them to act in an unkind manner The opportunity to act decently towards us was always available to them Only the tiniest number of them ever used it Wholeheartedly recommended. Het verhaal van een Joodse vrouw die op haar manier de oorlog probeert te overleven Ze wordt een tijd te werk gesteld in Aschersleben, dat ik ken uit de verhalen van mijn vader die daar als krijgsgevangene heeft gewerkt De Joodse werkers gaan op transport naar Polen en worden vervangen door dwangarbeiders uit de bezette landen Het lukt haar om dat lot te ontlopen door zich voor te doen als niet Joods en onder de radar te blijven als een U boot Indrukwekkend. This is an incredible, true story That doesn t give it a free pass as a book To put it plainly, it is badly written In fact it is not written at all, the spoken interview was committed directly to publishing I knew a girl Her name was so and so She had red hair I liked her brother a lot The red haired girl is then never mentioned again while the brother only pops up again, and is finally named, fifty pages later We all talk like this But this is not how written text works The book should have been edited by a professional Like many autobiographies, this one makes assumptions about what the interesting bits are, and runs out of steam at the end I would have liked to know a lot about Fred Beer, Edith s postwar husband, and the fifty years between WWII and the writing of this book Does Fred really rate just three sentences Can half a lifetime reflecting on the aftermath of wartime experience, or trying to forget it, be captured in a short epilogue All that is not to say you should not read this book You should, if only to get a first person account of what it was like to be inside Germany in WWII That world is increasingly becoming a foreign country to us, and the genocides since then suggest that we have learnt nothing. The Nazi Officer s Wife How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust was a most important memoir as told by Holocaust survivor Edith Hahn Beer She purposely buried her story for many years, not wanting to relive the past nor to burden younger generations with her sad memories However, her daughter Angela urged her to tell her story In 1997, she sold her archive of wartime letters, pictures and documents to Sotheby s where it was bought by two philanthropists who donated it all to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C The Hahn family lived in Vienna, where Edith was well educated and almost out of law school when she was forced by the occupying forces into a ghetto and on to a labor camp where she became separated from her mother What follows is a tragic but compelling story as we see how Edith is forced underground, eventually able to forge a new identity, and live in Germany It is a gripping, frightening and tragic tale, while at the same time, giving us all hope in the resilience of the human spiritThat s all it takes, you see a moment of kindness Someone who is sweet and understanding, who seems to be sent there like an angel on the road to get you through the nightmare I simply retreated down, down, down, trying to live in imitation of the German writer Erich Kastner, whom I always admired and who responded to the Nazi years with what was called internal emigration The soul withdrew to a rational silence The body remained there in the madness My baby lay on a blanket, laughing and cooing, wriggling with happiness as I nuzzled her little belly And meanwhile the bombs smashed into the city over the horizon, the sky flashed with orange and black waves of death, the antiaircraft cannons roared The earth beneath her shook and trembled and Angela kicked her legs and laughed She kept me sane She made me smile in the presence of death She was my miracle As long as I had her, I felt that any miracle could happen, that all of the world could be saved What you see is a mask of calm and civility Inside, always, forever, I am still weeping I found this to be a fascinating book, I could hardly put it down I found the fact that a highly educated woman successfully played an uneducated woman How difficult it much have been not to accidently just say something or use words above her station in life She lived day to day with the fear of being caught and sent to a concentration camp Edith only had one examination to take to receive her J D degree in law with extra training as a judge She arrived to take the last examination and was refused admittance and removed from the university because she was a Jew, from that moment on her life was in a downward turmoil She was sent off to a labor camp for Jews doing hard physical labor in the fields Before this she had never worked physically in her life On a trip, back to Vienna she took the star off her coat, slipped away as she left the train and passed as an Aryan She got papers from a catholic friend and moved to Munich where she worked as a nurse s aide at a Red Cross Hospital The only job she could get that did not check her papers against the National Registry was the Red Cross She did not want to get her friend in trouble so she had to stay out of sight She married Werner Vetter a Nazi Party member She had a daughter which made her a popular woman with the Nazis Werner was captured on the Eastern Front by the Russians and sent to Siberia.The book is well written and the description of daily life under the Nazis was interesting All of Edith s paper are at the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D C She resides in Israel It was her daughter that pushed her to tell her story The book is 330 pages long I read this as an e book on my Kindle app for my iPad. Edith Hahn Was An Outspoken Young Woman Studying Law In Vienna When The Gestapo Forced Edith And Her Mother Into A Ghetto, Issuing Them Papers Branded With A J Soon, Edith Was Taken Away To A Labor Camp, And Though She Convinced Nazi Officials To Spare Her Mother, When She Returned Home, Her Mother Had Been Deported Knowing She Would Become A Hunted Woman, Edith Tore The Yellow Star From Her Clothing And Went Underground, Scavenging For Food And Searching Each Night For A Safe Place To Sleep Her Boyfriend, Pepi, Proved Too Terrified To Help Her, But A Christian Friend Was Not With The Woman S Identity Papers In Hand, Edith Fled To Munich There She Met Werner Vetter, A Nazi Party Member Who Fell In Love With Her And Despite Her Protests And Even Her Eventual Confession That She Was Jewish, He Married Her And Kept Her Identity SecretIn Vivid, Wrenching Detail, Edith Recalls A Life Of Constant, Almost Paralyzing Fear She Tells Of German Officials Who Casually Questioned The Lineage Of Her Parents Of How, When Giving Birth To Her Daughter, She Refused All Painkillers, Afraid That In An Altered State Of Mind She Might Reveal Her Past And Of How, After Her Husband Was Captured By The Russians And Sent To Siberia, Edith Was Bombed Out Of Her House And Had To Hide In A Closet With Her Daughter While Drunken Russians Soldiers Raped Women On The StreetYet Despite The Risk It Posed To Her Life, Edith Hahn Created A Remarkable Collective Record Of Survival She Saved Every Set Of Real And Falsified Papers, Letters She Received From Her Lost Love, Pepi, And Photographs She Managed To Take Inside Labor Camps On Exhibit At The Holocaust Museum In Washington, DC These Hundreds Of Documents Form The Fabric Of An Epic Story Complex, Troubling, And Ultimately Triumphant Found on the history clearance cart at our local HPB, The Nazi Officer s Wife was a surprise, weaving itself into the heart of my WW2 studies Author Edith Hahn Beer s personal story of survival remained untold for almost 50 years until encouragement from her daughter, born in a Nazi Germany hospital, inspired her to share the memories she d long lived in silence with I did not discuss my life as a U boat, a fugitive from the Gestapo living under a false identity beneath the surface of society in Nazi Germany, but preferred to forget as much as possible and not to burden younger generations with sad memories Edith grew up in a moderately well off secular Jewish family in Vienna, Austria Her father died before the Nazi invasion, leaving Edith s beautiful mother to support 3 daughters via her dressmaking talent A beautiful young woman herself, Edith studied law at the University of Vienna, and fancied herself in love with a young socialist who was himself saved from the Holocaust by his Catholic mother Until the Nazi s absorbed Austria, a dream of socialist utopia was the political movement of the youth of Edith s day, allowing Hitler to capitalize with his vision of National Socialism Most intriguing and fascinating about Edith s history is the way in which she reveals to us day to day Nazi Germany from the perspective of citizen and Jew simultaneously Her s is a tale of courage, of stamina, of forbearance and fortitude, of the adaptability of the human spirit in order to survive Edith projects a human face into my reading of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Her experiences are the cry of the clarion calling us to be ever vigilant in promoting liberty throughout the world and defending America s freedoms here at home Edith died just last year, March 2009, but her legacy lives on at the United States Holocaust Museum.
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- The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust
- Edith Hahn Beer
- 02 June 2018 Edith Hahn Beer