Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book 6: The Nazi Officer's Wife

“You see, even the inhuman ones were not always inhuman. This was a lesson that I would learn again and again—how completely unpredictable individuals could be when it came to personal morality.” 

Dates read: October 25-27, 2015

Rating: 10/10

An Austrian Jewish woman survives the Holocaust by marrying a member of the Nazi party. When she meets him, he is initially a high-ranking factory official, but by the end of the war, when everyone is pressed into active duty, he is an officer within the party. And the kicker? He knows she's Jewish. Totally made up, right? Wrong. That is the actual story of Edith Hahn Beer.

The Shoah has, understandably, sparked a lot of significant literature. The Diary of Anne Frank. Night. Sophie's Choice. Why this incredible memoir hasn't been included in the canon is beyond me, honestly. It was (like almost all of my Kindle books) a sale selection, the title promising a fascinating tale although memoirs aren't an especial favorite of mine. And it's been one of the few books I've read recently that I literally couldn't put down.

One of the upsides of the Kindle is its portability. And I have the Kindle app on my phone, although I hardly use it usually. Not here. I was reading on my eight-minute walk to work. I was reading in the bathroom. I was reading every spare second I could grab. Beer's writing voice feels like a story your aunt or grandma is telling's immediate, it grabs you and doesn't let you go. From the moment that she's sent to her first work camp assignment, missing her mother's departure for the ghetto, to her friend's bravery in giving Edith her identification documents (which the friend then reported as "missing") so that Edith, unable to draw rations on her false ID, will at least be able to try to find work, to her first meeting with her future husband Werner, to her refusal to have any pain medication during the birth of their child so that she won't spill her desperate secret, all of it is incredibly compelling and although we know she survives her experience because she wrote a book about it, we can't help but eagerly turn pages to see how it plays out. Basically I was completely swept away and never wanted it to end and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well-told story.

Tell me, blog you like memoirs or am I the weirdo that finds them very skippable?

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