The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer (Four Stars)

The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer

(Four Stars out of Five)

The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust is a gripping first-person account of a Austrian Jew who came of age in Vienna on the eve of the Nazi takeover of her country, upending her world and killing most of her family. Her ultimate strategy to avoid detection provides the book’s title.

Great voice. The reader rides inside of Edith as she suffers shock and degradation, then panic and rage as her world dissolves. Her desperate search to survive reminds us that each of the millions murdered in the Holocaust were individuals—as different from each other as us—and yet part of a community which, because of its cultural tenacity, has been vilified by Egyptians, Philistines, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Christians, Moslems and atheists for most of history. Being the world’s scapegoat is a burden.

This story grips the reader much as The Book Thief (my review), substituting Edith’s immediate living voice for the distant, melancholy voice of Death. Definite movie potential.

Thanks to her daughter, without whose inquiries, this story may have been lost.

Appropriate recognition given to Susan Dworkin. Too often “ghost writers” so all the work and get little credit.