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The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish…

The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Susan Dworkin, Edith H. Beer

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Title:The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
Authors:Susan Dworkin
Other authors:Edith H. Beer
Info:Harper Perennial (2000), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:read 2013, Your library
Tags:holocaust, non fiction, biography, history

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The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith Hahn Beer (1999)


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What a powerful memoir this was - very authentically told - of one woman's life before, during, and after WWII. Edith's words transported me to a time when nothing was as it seemed, when fear became a part of every breath, and trust became a game of russian roulette.

From the title alone, before reading the book, I assumed that Edith, a Jewish woman, lied her way into marriage to a Nazi officer - the truth was far more interesting as this was a story of love and honesty. ( )
  njinthesun | Jul 9, 2015 |
An amazing account of Edith Beer's survival in Austria and Germany during WW II. Although she had it better than many European Jews, her story is hair raising and heart rending all the same. She tells about her pre war existence as a young secular Jewish university student studying law in Vienna. Edith shares valuable insights into Austrian society during and after the Anschluss, being sent to forced labour camps, wearing the Yellow Star of David and her many deprivations. Her story draws you in as she obtains new ID as a Gentile, works with the Red Cross and embarks on her married life and motherhood.

While not the best writing I've read, Edith's story kept me interested and happy when she finally escaped to England and safety. ( )
  Zumbanista | Jan 21, 2015 |
An incredible account of one Holocaust survivor's resourcefulness and strength made all the more remarkable by the personal photographs and historical documents she retrieved from a letter-saving former boyfriend. Thank goodness Edith's daughter helped her overcome her reluctance to formally record her unique and very important life story. Highly recommend. ( )
  dele2451 | Nov 2, 2014 |
The Nazi Officer's Wife presents us with a new view of hidden survivors. Edith Hahn was educated as a lawyer but not allowed to practice because she was a Jew, then survived labor camps and escaped to hide in plain sight passing herself off as a pure Aryan while married to a member of the Nazi party who married her in spite of knowing her true identity. We see her life as experienced from a persecuted Jewish point of view and from that of a her role as a German housewife. While everyone might not agree with her choice to pass herself off as a pure-blooded German, her courage and resourcefulness are apparent.
This is a fascinating read.
1 vote HolocaustMuseum | May 28, 2014 |
I have waited a long time to read this book. It always seemed out of my reach until the Kindle version finally came to be. While the wait was long, it was well worth it. What an amazing story of strength and character. I have read many books about the Holocaust, but never a book about a Jew living among the enemies. It was touching to read the various places the author had been...geographically, professionally and emotionally. This will remain to be one of my favorite accounts of life in this horrible time. ( )
  elleayess | Apr 19, 2014 |
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In loving memory of my mother, Klothilde Hahn
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After a while, there were no more onions.
So you see, we had all the burdens of being Jewish in an anti-Semitic country, but none of the strengths—the Torah learning, the prayers, the welded community. We spoke no Yiddish or Hebrew. We had no deep faith in God. We were not Polish Chassidim or Lithuanian yeshiva scholars. We were not bold free Americans... And there were no Israelis then, no soldiers in the desert, no "nation like other nations." Hold that in your mind as I tell you this story.
I think my father knew how to be Jewish, but he did not teach us. He must have thought we would absorb it with our mother's milk.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 068817776X, Paperback)

Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith's protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret.

In 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 something of her past; and of how, after her husband was captured by the Soviet army, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.

Yet despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document and set of papers issued to her, as well as photographs she managed to take inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust -- complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:31 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Edith Hahn tells how she survived the Holocaust, first by going underground, using a Christian friend's identity papers, and eventually marrying Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who knew she was Jewish.

(summary from another edition)

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