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

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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  14,212 ratings  ·  1,202 reviews
Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman studying law in Vienna when the Gestapo forced Edith and her mother into a ghetto, issuing them papers branded with a "J." Soon, Edith was taken away to a labor camp, and though she convinced Nazi officials to spare her mother, when she returned home, her mother had been deported. Knowing she would become a hunted woman, Edith tore t ...more
Paperback, 305 pages
Published October 24th 2000 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankNight by Elie WieselThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John BoyneNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry
Well Written Holocaust Books
24th out of 507 books — 2,057 voters
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankNight by Elie WieselSarah's Key by Tatiana de RosnayNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry
World War II/Holocaust Fiction & Non-fiction
28th out of 393 books — 435 voters


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Community Reviews

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Chrissie
NO SPOILERS!!

This is a four star book. Recently another GR friend rated this with three stars, and to be honest, I was flabbergasted. "HOW CAN YOU NOT BE MOVED BY THIS BOOK?" zinged through my head?! I will try and explain without giving spoilers. First of all, if you are the kind of person, like me, that highly values straight talk, and talk that does not shy away from ANY subject - sex, love, cruelty, motherhood, lying, corruption, guilt and survival - then this is a book for you. Edith will s
...more
Angela

I have read a good number of books about the holocaust and most of them were novels. I keep reading them because they are gut wrenching and they keep reminding me that it's important for us to acknowledge and remember what happened in those concentration and death camps . Reading a memoir like this one, only reminds me all the more how horrific this history was and that this happened to real people.

This book is not about the concentration or death camps but it is about the courage and determinat
...more
Janet
Found on the history clearance cart at our local HPB, The Nazi Officer’s Wife was a surprise, weaving itself into the heart of my WW2 studies. Author Edith Hahn Beer’s personal story of survival remained untold for almost 50 years until encouragement from her daughter, born in a Nazi Germany hospital, inspired her to share the memories she’d long lived in silence with: “I did not discuss my life as a “U-boat,” a fugitive from the Gestapo living under a false identity beneath the surface of socie ...more
Jessica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michel Clasquin-Johnson
This is an incredible, true story. That doesn't give it a free pass as a book. To put it plainly, it is badly written. In fact it is not written at all, the spoken interview was committed directly to publishing. "I knew a girl. Her name was so-and-so. She had red hair. I liked her brother a lot." The red-haired girl is then never mentioned again while the brother only pops up again, and is finally named, fifty pages later. We all talk like this. But this is not how written text works. The book s ...more
Eva Leger
This felt like a conversation with the author, between only the two of us. I loved it. I loved how easy it read in that way. Stories as personal as this are some of my favorites and this is right near the top.
The photos the author included are astounding, some of the words can even be made out. The reader can actually see, although I couldn't read it, the letter her husband had smuggled to her from a Siberian prisoner when he was a POW.
I think the biggest thing for me was how clear she made wh
...more
Chris
My doctor wants to know why this year I have taken to reading books about the Holocaust.

I don't know. It's not the time period I'm usually interested in. I much prefer the Tudors. Yet, when I taught Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl earlier this year, I did some more reading, and haven't stopped for whatever reason.

Maybe it is because I'm P*ssed off at the Holocaust deniers. I don't know.

I picked this book up at an used bookstore. It is a different perspective on the Holocaust.

Yeah, I know t
...more
Jordan Boone
Oct 26, 2011 Jordan Boone rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
This unique topic drew me in. The issues of the book really intrigued me. At first I thought it would just be about Edith Hahn Beer's life being married to a Nazi officer, but it delves much more into the Holocaust than that. This shows an unusual way one Jewish woman survived World War II.
Though the diction and sentence structure is relatively easy to read (despite the few German words woven into the sentences), I love how the book really engulfs you in the way the world was in the 1930s and 1
...more
Rachel
Ich habe es endlich übers Herz gebracht eine Rezi zu schreiben. Wahrscheinlich habe ich nur eine kleine Pause gebraucht um nach diesem Buch meine Gefühle wieder unter Kontrolle zu haben.

Das Cover finde ich wirklich sehr schön, obwohl es in diesem Buch um keine klassische "Liebesgeschichte" geht. Ich verstehe auch nicht warum man diese Lebensgeschichte als so etwas verkaufen zu versucht. Aber die Wege der Verleger sind unergründlich, sicher erhoffeten sie sich so mehr Käufer. Nun, trotz meiner e
...more
Athena Nagel
I have always been interested in books and stories from the Nazi era. Not because I find the topic entertaining - but because I believe it is important to understand the atrocities that existed. History tends to repeat itself - I think we need to do all that we can to avoid making mistakes that have been made in the past and this moment in history should never ever happen again. I had no clue what this story would be like but I wanted to read about the Nazi side of the events - how did things ge ...more
Nari (The Novel World)
At the age of 27, and only one test away from achieving her law degree, Edith was turned away from her University due to the ridiculous rules set up by Hilter and the Reich. Edith and her mom are trapped in the slow and agonizing decline of Jewish civil rights as they lose their ability to sustain themselves. Edith is sent to work in various work camps for years, under the promise that while she works, her family will be kept safe from the concentration camps. Her boyfriend Pepi, is often a deta ...more
Karin
May 08, 2010 Karin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: WW2 history buffs
Edith, an aspiring lawyer, does not leave Austria with her sister as the Nazis were coming into power. She is assigned by the nazi's to work on a farm as a sort of slave. When the growing season is over, instead of allowing her to return to her family, Edith is sent to a factory. She keeps hoping her boyfriend will marry her but he is under the thumb of his mother and can't seem to think for himself. Edith ends up going into hiding, using a gentile friend's name etc.- with permission, of course. ...more
Marcia
Most people have heard of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who lived through most of WWII in an annex, hidden away from the world for a few years before being turned in and sentenced to her death in a concentration camp.

The question I had to ask myself after finishing "The Nazi Officer's Wife..." was, 'How have I not heard of this book before?' Why is it not on any reading list that I was given in my high school classes?

This book is a fantastic and beautiful story of a Jewish woman living thro
...more
Sue
This work is an autobiography of a woman, Edith Hahn, who survived in Austria and Germany during WWII. I read this book right after reading The Holocaust Industry, so I wonder if some of my reaction to the book was colored by some of the issues Finkelstein brought up.

The book was unusual - Hahn wasn't in a camp, and she wasn't in hiding in the way Anne Frank did. Instead, she managed to work the system, finding people to help her (often people who weren't family or close friends, and a lot of s
...more
Laren
The title is somewhat sensational. This is the story of a Jewish woman during WWII who spent time in work camps, then was able to adopt a false identity with the help of a friend, and ended up married to a man who was then drafted into Nazi officer service late in the war (he knew about her real identity before they married). Still, as the story develops, it is a fascinating read. A&E aired a special documentary on this story which I watched a few years ago. The book goes into much more deta ...more
Carol
There were some reviews critical to Edith's choices during her knife in Nazi Germany; however, until you have had to make those choices in a country turned against you, I would not make judgements. I thought her life was remarkable. I have read through many WWII stories about the Jewish experience, but this was real. Ms Beer tells her own story with the help of Ms Dworkin. The book reads like she is talking to you I.e. " you have to understand, in those days....". I thought it was well written a ...more
Ron
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 the shock and degradation, then panic and rage as her world dissolves. Her desperate search to survive reminds us that each of the millions murdered by the Holocaust were individuals—as different f
...more
Marialyce
Excellent true story of the lengths some had to go through in order to stay alive in Nazi Germany. This woman's life was one of heroism, fear, and accomplishment. Who could condem such a woman for doing all she could to protect herself and eventually her child? This book certainly gave a new perspective on the intrepid ability of a Jewish woman to stay alive and survive the Holocaust.
Srividya
This is an amazing story of a woman who survives the Holocaust while still staying within the Nazi realm and regime. This book is definitely one of the most inspiring books that I have read this year.

Edith Hahn, the protagonist and narrator of this book, is a young Viennese girl who is studying law and has an outspoken nature. However, due to the turn of events, she is forced into a labor camp by the Gestapo but she manages to get her mother from facing the same problems. She returns home after
...more
Melinda Elizabeth
This was a powerful book that was all the more captivating due to it's reality. Edith was a smart, happy teenager when Nazi fascism touched her life and her Vienna was destroyed, as a Jewish youth she was cast out of her classes, her house, and forced to live on rations and in a ghetto with her mother.

We follow Edith/Grete through vienna to German labour camps, escaping and attempting to rescue her mother in Vienna, to recognising that her friends were as stretched morally as they would ever be
...more
Cecilia
To survive one must live. This is a story of a woman who moved forward no matter what was obstacles she faced. She was extremely intelligent and asset every one her situations not just to save her life but also her integrity. Her story has changed me, and it may never have been told. They say history is written by the victors; I am glad that small everyday victories fell into my hands.
Harry Sahl
What a great read! The amazing story of one woman's survival from the Nazi's. The book's title may be a little misleading since Edith Hahn doesn't meet her future husband until about halfway through the book. However, the subtitle is the real story - How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust. The story begins in the 1920's in Vienna where life was good for the Hahn family. Edith's parents own a restaurant, she is a popular teenager, a successful law student and has a boyfriend - Pepi. I enjoye ...more
Charles D Price
A compelling, riveting read!

I was given a Kindle as a gift at Christmas 2013. This book was the only title I entered initially on my to read list. I had no prior experience with an electronic reading device. I only used the device for email and for reading the Washington Post and the NY Times and checking weather forecasts until yesterday afternoon when I decided to figure out how to access the available books on the device. I finished reading
it @ 1:30 PM today. I literally was engrossed from p
...more
Margot
This was a wonderful memoir written by a woman, Edith Hahn, who after years of staying quiet and never divulging what she went through during the Holocast, is persuaded by her daughter to share her story. What an incredible story she tells and how she manages to outwit the Nazis as a Jewish woman living In Austria and then Germany. She does eventually marry a Nazi officer, but must set aside her career ambitions, cook, clean and live as a "U-boat" remaining disguised under a sea of terror that t ...more
Diane
Edith Hahn was a law student in Vienna when WW II began. She had a wide range of friends and was in love with an older man named Pepi. After the Anschluss with Vienna in Nazi hands, the world shifted. Although many family members and friends left Austria, Edith stays because Pepi does not want to leave. Soon it is too late to escape and she is sent to work on a farm and then in a factory. Finally it is apparent she will be “sent to Poland” which she knows may be a death sentence. With the help o ...more
Ana'
This well written, unconventional memoir is about Edith’s survival of the Holocaust. I learned a lot despite my various reading on that subject. Edith explains and exposes the Nazi mentality through historical facts and everyone’s fate.

The term “U-Boat” was new to me. It referred to Jews who assumed a Nazi identity with false papers during the war. The adoption of this identity dominates Edith’s story and her survival experience. Edith becomes the wife of a Nazi officer who she met through a fr
...more
Noel
Twice I stayed up until the wee hours of the night listening to the excellent narration of this book. This memoir is the story of Edith, a young, jewish, law student who could easily pass for Aryan. And pass indeed she did. She had to after being in a forced labor camp and being listed for transport, Edith disappeared into the underground and became a "U-Boat" hiding in plain side of the German Gestapo.

As the title suggests, she married a Nazi officer and so began years of lies, of learning to k
...more
CD
A very unusual entry in the literature of The Holocaust. The book encourages discussion about the different roles and actions of the players in both the book and the historical record.

The motivation of the author, Edith Hahn Beer, to finally tell this story is an interesting topic. A simple motivation is the encouragement of her daughter who did not know the full story until she was well into her adulthood. There are stories and reports that Hahn Beer may have needed to bolster her finances tha
...more
☮Karen
2.5 stars.
After a slow, rather bumpy first two-thirds of the book, with a lot of confusing characters thrown in and not-so-great-writing, the main character Edith Hahn finally meets the man who will make her his wife. I must say I felt misled by the title as she didn’t marry an officer, although he was a Nazi, and then they were a married couple for a very short time while he was an actual officer. That was when he got drafted and sent away, so they were not even living together. The book really
...more
Elliot Ratzman
With echoes of Europa, Europa, Edith Beer hid out in Nazi Germany passing as Aryan, where she met and married a Nazi official. She had grown up in an assimilated Viennese Jewish environment, joined the Socialist youths and fell in love with a young intellectual. But after a grueling year of slave labor she returns to Vienna, going underground. After taking her friend’s Aryan identity she lives out the war with her new Nazi husband a “U-boat” off the radar screen. The lessons of this story are th ...more
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Free $10 credit for audible.com on any book 1 13 Apr 20, 2013 10:32AM  
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“During that long terrible ride to Munich, I finally swallowed the bitter pill of my lover's rejection and poisoned myself with it. I murdered the personality I was born with and transformed myself from a butterfly back in into a caterpillar. That night I learned to seek the shadows, to prefer silence” 10 likes
“I thought: Now I am like Dante. I walk through hell, but I am not burning.” 8 likes
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