Book Club Friday: The Nazi Officer’s Wife

12 Aug

Its that magical time again, I’m linking up with Heather for Book Club Friday.


Today I am covering The Nazi Officer’s Wife:  How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust

Here is official summary:
Born to a middle-class, nonobservant Jewish family, Beer was a popular teenager and successful law student when the Nazis moved into Austria. In a well-written narrative that reads like a novel, she relates the escalating fear and humiliating indignities she and others endured, as well as the anti-Semitism of friends and neighbors. Using all their resources, her family bribed officials for exit visas for her two sisters, but Edith and her mother remained, due to lack of money and Edith’s desire to be near her half-Jewish boyfriend, Pepi.

Eventually, Edith was deported to work in a labor camp in Germany. Anxious about her mother, she obtained permission to return to Vienna, only to learn that her mother was gone. In despair, Edith tore off her yellow star and went underground. Pepi, himself a fugitive, distanced himself from her. A Christian friend gave Edith her own identity papers, and Edith fled to Munich, where she met and despite her confession to him that she was Jewish married Werner Vetter, a Nazi party member. Submerging her Jewish identity at home and at work, Edith lived in constant fear, even refusing anesthetic in labor to avoid inadvertently revealing the truth about her past. She successfully maintained the facade of a loyal German hausfrau until the war ended. Her story is important both as a personal testament and as an inspiring example of perseverance in the face of terrible adversity.

I found this book to be fascinating.  Hahn describes in great detail the slow take over of the Nazis, having her whole world ripped away from her, and her constant fear of being caught.  You feel her pain as she is forced to betray her heritage in order to survive.  This book reads like a novel and goes by fairly quickly.  I also loved that it included photos.  You can see Edith’s family, her husband Werner, and longtime love Pepi.  She also shares photos from the labor camp she was sent to and letter between her and Pepi while she was away – though they’re all in German.

I haven’t read many memoirs that don’t involve Jen Lancaster being hilarious, Chelsea Handler being ridiculous or Tina Fey being awesome, so this book was a bit of a change of pace for me.  Years ago I read Night by Elie Wiesel which is another fantastic Holocuast memoir, if you ‘ve never read it, run get it.  Its a quick, amazing read.

Other great World War II and Holocaust related books are Number the Stars, Sarah’s Key, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

Also on my list to read are The Book Thief, Schindler’s List and In The Garden of Beasts.

Any other must reads out there?

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6 Responses to “Book Club Friday: The Nazi Officer’s Wife”

  1. nataliegracie August 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Definitely adding “Garden of Beasts” to my list. Are you the main character?

  2. Heather August 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Oh my gosh, this sounds like an incredible read!!

  3. Wiz August 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    This sounds really good. I have always found the Holocaust fascinating (not in a good way.) It is hard to fathom for me. I will have to check out some of these books.

  4. Sarah S @RunningOnWords August 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    This has been sitting on my shelf FOREVER, but I’m definitely going to read it now. The seminal Holocaust book is “Night” by Elie Wiesel and I loved the YA novel “The Devil’s Arithmetic.”

    • linzlikewhoa August 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

      You should definitely read it. And thanks for the suggestion, I just added The Devil’s Arithmetic to my reading list!

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