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

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4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  28,815 Ratings  ·  2,211 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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Terri Iacobucci It is one of the best books I've ever read. At times, I felt I was reading a suspense book, than I'd realize that the book is based on real life. The…moreIt is one of the best books I've ever read. At times, I felt I was reading a suspense book, than I'd realize that the book is based on real life. The author's storytelling style is engaging and heartwarming. Anyone a victim of circumstances, Edith shows a way to hang on, and even prevail. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ana
Mar 16, 2017 Ana rated it it was amazing
Wow. I can't even... Five brilliant stars.
Angela M
Jul 04, 2014 Angela M rated it it was amazing

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
Chrissie
Oct 09, 2010 Chrissie rated it really liked it
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
Tim
Aug 25, 2015 Tim rated it it was amazing
What makes this memoir of an Austrian Jewish woman relentlessly moving is the attention to detail, the sharp incisive nature of Hahn’s observations. These eloquently described details bring the narrative vividly to life. The title is slightly misleading and hints perhaps at a cinematic melodrama which does this book a disservice. Her husband was a painter, blind in one eye and thus spent most of the war working as a kind of foreman in a paint factory. Only when the Nazis were on the verge of def ...more
abby
Edith Hahn was one of the few Jews hiding in plain sight in the Reich during the Second World War. Jews who evaded deportation were known as U-boats. Those who could pass for "Aryan" in looks and had the right connections could take their chances living on falsified papers. That's how Edith Hahn, 29-year-old Austrian law student, became Grete Denner, meek 21-year-old nurse's aid living in Munich. Every day she lived in fear of capture. She couldn't use food ration or clothing coupons because it ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Mar 13, 2017 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
It annoys me hearing millennials whine about how they need faster internet and all the latest cell phones (before anyone bites my head off, I'm of the millennial generation myself so I'm not trying to be prejudiced). People of my generation take everything they have, not just their material items but also their rights and freedoms, for granted. This book tells the story of a woman whose freedom was taken from her, living a life in constant fear, having to hide her very ethnicity just to protect ...more
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
Jean Poulos
I found this to be a fascinating book, I could hardly put it down. I found the fact that a highly educated woman successfully played an uneducated woman. How difficult it much have been not to accidently just say something or use words above her station in life. She lived day to day with the fear of being caught and sent to a concentration camp. Edith only had one examination to take to receive her J. D. degree in law with extra training as a judge.

She arrived to take the last examination and
...more
Janet
Feb 05, 2010 Janet rated it really liked it
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
Athena Nagel
Oct 26, 2012 Athena Nagel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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
Chris
Dec 31, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it
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
Jessica
Nov 09, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jess
May 06, 2017 Jess rated it liked it
It's always difficult to review an autobiography or memoir, and The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust is no exception. It is Edith's life, after all!

This was fascinating in terms of historical context - it describes the survival of a Jewish woman during the Holocaust via a way that I had never thought possible : she married a Nazi officer.

I heard this was adapted directly from a spoken interview - and it shows. The vernacular style is sloppy. That's the only way I
...more
Kavita
I thought it would be a case of Stockholm Syndrome, but was pleasantly surprised. The author grew up in Vienna in the 1930s and while many of her family members saw the writing on the wall and managed to flee before the Nazi area closed itself, Edith and her mother remained for various reasons. The title is slightly misleading as the author does not really meet her husband until halfway through the book. Nevertheless, it's a very interesting memoir of how a Jewish girl managed to survive in Nazi ...more
Cher
Apr 07, 2016 Cher rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub, memoir-bio
3.5 stars - It was really good.

An incredible story, but the memoir is written much like a spoken interview which could be detracting at times.
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Favorite Quote: Every time you hurt somebody you care for, a crack appears in your relationship, a little weakening - and it stays there, dangerous, waiting for the next opportunity to open up and destroy everything.

First Sentence: After a while, there were no more onions.
rachel
Jul 13, 2012 rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jordan Boone
Oct 26, 2011 Jordan Boone rated it really liked it
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
Laren
Jun 03, 2007 Laren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, holocaust
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
Ram
Sep 05, 2015 Ram rated it really liked it
Shelves: holocaust
This is a different holocaust story.
Edith Hahn was not in concentration camps, ghettos, or fought with the partisans.
She was a forced laborer worker, went underground and managed to get fake papers. She got involved with a Nazi party member and married him and even had a child with him.

The story is good, It was interesting for me to read a story of the war that happened in Germany. From the stage she got her papers, she did not go hungry and had a comfortable life (compared to the vast majority
...more
Lisa
Jan 15, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing
When I first read about The Nazi Officer's Wife, I thought the premise seemed totally unplausible. Nevertheless, my Goodreads friend Chrissie convinced me to read the book. Once I started it, I was unable to put it down. Even after everything that's been said about the Holocaust, living in Skokie which has a large concentration of survivors, and going to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, this story had something new to teach me. I never knew that there were people who hid in plain sight in Ger ...more
Orsolya
Jul 16, 2017 Orsolya rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, library-2, memoir
There is a bounty of harrowing tales of both suffering and survival of the Holocaust available to readers. These are impossible to emotionally avoid and each and every one is compelling and heartbreaking. One of these tales is that of Edith Hahn, whom as a Viennese Jew, evaded deportation, survived labor camps, took on a false identity, and even eventually married a Nazi party member. Along with the help of Susan Dworkin, Edith Hahn Beer tells her story in, “The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewi ...more
Marcia
Jun 26, 2012 Marcia rated it it was amazing
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
May 07, 2007 Sue rated it really liked it
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
Heidi
Jul 08, 2015 Heidi rated it really liked it
A gripping book that drops you into that world we all know about, yet know nothing about. Hahn tells her harrowing story, what she calls her "strange, miraculous past," without sentimentality, excuses or self-pity. She makes me think of Viktor Frankl's Man's "Search for Meaning," to this day the most hopeful song of praise to the human spirit and free choice in the face of evil that I have ever read.

Hahn emphasizes a maxim I've held dear for decades: "You can grow accustomed to anything." What
...more
Nari (The Novel World)
May 20, 2008 Nari (The Novel World) rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, 2008
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
LindaJ^
Terrifying is the best one-word description I can give for this non-fiction book. It is the story of a survivor of the Holocast, but not a camp-survivor. This woman grew up in Vienna. Just before graduation from law school, she was sent to a work camp. She was such a good worker that she was moved from farm to factory. Food and rest were in short supply. She tried to be sent back to Vienna so she could be transported to Poland with her mother, but was not allowed. Soon enough, though, the Nazis ...more
Ron
Sep 12, 2014 Ron rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, ebook, memoir
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
Karin
Apr 24, 2010 Karin rated it liked it
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
Carol
Jul 05, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing
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
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“I thought: Now I am like Dante. I walk through hell, but I am not burning.” 12 likes
“The soul withdrew to a rational silence. The body remained there in the madness.” 9 likes
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