The Nazi Officer's Wife

By Edith Hahn Beer, Susan Dworkin,

Book cover of The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust

Book description

Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman studying law in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her and her mother into a ghetto, issuing them papers branded with a "J". Soon Edith was taken away to a labour camp and when she returned home after months away she found her mother…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Nazi Officer's Wife as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This unlikely story has a different focus from other Holocaust memoirs. After working in a slave labour camp, Edith Hahn, a Viennese Jew, was ordered to report for transport east, and probable death, but instead went into hiding with a new identity thanks to two Christian friends. Jews hiding in plain sight were called U-boats. Though trained as a lawyer, she worked as an ignorant nurse’s aide in a hospital and met a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. She told him she was Jewish but he wanted to marry her anyway and became both a protector…

I love books that present choices that seem clear to us, reading in this century, curled up on the sofa in front of a roaring fire sipping from a cup of mocha, latte frappucino. Choices that appear black and white are actually a muddled gray when life or death hangs in the balance. I love to read books that ask (without asking) what would I do in the exact same situation as the protagonist. This book does that, and you can feel the tension, the strain, the angst as the Nazi noose tightens around their necks. Terrifying and real.

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