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Hiding in Plain Sight: The Incredible True…

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Incredible True Story of a German-Jewish…

by Betty Lauer

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NO OF PAGES: 561 SUB CAT I: Holocaust SUB CAT II: SUB CAT III: DESCRIPTION: Even if you think you've read enough about the Holocaust, start this extraordinary eyewitness account, and you won't quit till you're finished. Bertel Weissberger (now Betty Lauer) was 12 in April 1938 when her father was expelled from Germany and went to America. That October, Bertel; her sister, Eva; and her mother?along with truckloads of other German Jews?were sent to Poland. Initially, they lived as registered Jews, with special curfews, work assignments and food rations. Then came armbands, herding into ghettos and the "liquidations" of ghettos by mass executions or transports to concentration camps. Bertel and her mother?the Nazis caught Eva?got forged papers and learned to pass as Polish Christians. This was a constant strain, as IDs were continually rechecked and bounty hunters were always searching for disguised Jews. Fleeing a series of near-discoveries, Bertel and her mother ended up in Warsaw, where they fought in the 1943 uprising and were deported to an internment camp, along with Bertel's Polish Christian "husband." They bribed their way out of the camp to take various work assignments, navigated the Russian occupation of Poland, walked to Auschwitz to look for Eva and stowed away on a ship from Poland to Sweden, finally sailed to America. Beyond the incredible journey, this day-by-day account of a teenager learning "survival dexterity"?how to extract assistance from the ambivalent, how to sense danger in the slightest gesture?is unforgettable. Map, photos.NOTES: Purchased from the Amazon Marketplace. SUBTITLE: The Incredible True Story of a German-Jewish Teenager's Struggle to Survive in Nazi-Occupied Poland
  BeitHallel | Feb 18, 2011 |
Meh. This was not the best memoir. I mean, it wasn't terrible, but it was both too detailed and not detailed enough. The postwar section with Krysia/Betty looking for surviving family members and trying to get out of the country covered over 150 pages and really dragged. You don't often hear a lot of detail about Holocaust survivors in postwar Europe and their attempts to emigrate, so I guess it was valuable for that reason, but it could have been cut by half or even two-thirds.

I really wish Betty had provided more information about what she was feeling during all the events she describes. For instance, after the death of Betty's sister, their mother was in such despair that she decided to commit suicide, and Betty agreed to die with her. (Obviously, things didn't go as planned.) What was she thinking at that moment, how did she feel? It could have been a very poignant and haunting chapter; it comes off very dry instead. And when she married Stefan, was it just for convenience/protection and then love came later, or did she love him already? Also, none of the dialogue sounds real -- she's attempting to tell too much by the dialogue and it comes off sounding like...well...like a book. Real people don't talk that way.

I do not believe this memoir is worth the time it took to read 550+ pages of small print. Not when there are so many other, better books out there. ( )
  meggyweg | Jul 28, 2010 |
4077 Hiding in Plain Sight The Incredible True Story of German-Jewish Teenager's Struggle to Survive in Nazi-occupied Poland, by Betty Lauer (read 24 Sep 2005) The author was a teenager when she left Germany in 1938 for Poland and then manages to stay in Poland all during the war--and survive. It is an incredible account telling of the constant fear she lived in till February of 1945 when the Russians drove the Nazis out of Poland. Maybe there is some German exaggeration, and the detail with which the book is written (the author says she wrote the book in the 1950s but the book was not published till 2004) tho since there was no diary makes some of it a bit suspect. I think of all the work Victor Klemperer went to to keep his detailed diary and so was able to produce his tremendous account I Will Bear Witness, (read by me 11 June 1999 and 7 Apr 2000). The book is rather artlessly written but I found it absorbing and attention-holding. One needs occasionally to remind oneself anew of Nazi evil, and that such could and did occur in our times. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Oct 18, 2007 |
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It is 1938. Berta Weissberger, twelve years old, lives in Hindenburg, Germany, with her mother and older sister. Her father has already left for America, and the family is awaiting the arrival of their American visas. These hopes and plans are destroyed at the end of October 1938, however, when Jews are rounded up, loaded onto trucks, and driven to the Polish border. They are forced to cross a river into Poland and ordered, "Keep walking and do not turn back. Anyone attempting to turn back will be shot." So begins Bertel's six-year terrifying odyssey in Nazi-occupied Poland. While living a life of constant vigilance and fear. Bertel grows into womanhood. Again and again, Providence steps in and saves her, guiding her to the right person or place.… (more)

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