The Nazi Officer's Wife
Edith Hahn Beer
Edith Hahn was in her mid-twenties and attending the university in Vienna when Austria gave itself over to Nazi Germany, hoping to avoid war. She and her socialist friends had seen the signs, but were hopeful that something would intervene and prevent a war. Edith, her family, her close friends, and her lover, Pepi, were all Jewish.
Edith had been a happy college student, finishing up her law courses. As it was time for her to graduate, she was denied her diploma. She was Jewish, a non-person. Edith and her mother were able to get visas for her two younger sisters and got them out of Austria to England and Israel. Edith was deported to Germany to "temporarily" help on a labor camp farm. Now Edith was away from everyone she knew trying to survive as a Jewish woman in Germany during Hitler's regime.
This is the memoirs of how one woman survived World War II. Pepi, the man in Vienna she had wanted to marry was in continuous correspondence with her throughout the war. At times she had nothing more than the clothes on her back. She told him and her mother parts of what was happening, but not everything. She kept her papers and pictures from later in the war after she married a Nazi officer and her daughter was born. But she never told her story after the war. Her daughter finally learned the truth when Pepi died and Edith's papers were all forwarded to her. He had kept all her letters, despite the danger to himself.
This is a powerful recounting of World War II and Nazi Germany. Edith talks about her constant fear, both as a fugitive and later as Werner Vetter's wife. The book depicts the horrors she saw and heard about without graphic descriptions. It is a tale that sounds like fiction, but isn't. Edith's letters and memorabilia are now in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
The writing is fairly simple, not eloquent. Which, of course, makes it more powerful.
|You might also like:
Through the Eyes of a Survivor by Colleen Waddell
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
Book Rating System