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

The Nazi Officer's Wife by Edith Hahn Beer
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's review
Mar 27, 2011

liked it
Read from March 27 to 29, 2011

Another memoir that I was disappointed in.

If you've read any of my other reviews, you know that I'm obsessed with World War II. You'll also know that I'm extremely put off by people who advertise one thing and then produce something different- it's LYING and it really annoys me. This book has both.

Edith Hahn was incredibly brave. She refused to do what many Austrian Jews did and go into hiding or flee to safer places (like her sisters did to Palestine). Instead, she insisted on carrying out her life as it was, deluded by the idea that the Americans were coming to save the day, and to just wait it out. This worked for awhile. Then it didn't.

Then, about 2/3 through the book, she actually fulfilled the book's title and became the Nazi Officer's Wife. Even more incredibly, she changed her identity completely, taking on a new persona and defying everything she had stood against to save herself (a smart move, methinks). What was even more interesting was that this Nazi Officer (who wasn't an officer until very near the end of the book) knew she was Jewish. Rather than hiding her to save her (like many books I've read in the past), he married her out of love. She hid from the rest of the world she was Jewish, and upon their marriage, was actually presented a certificate verifying her Aryan blood (after a man looked her dead in the eye and declared that, "by look alone, it is obvious you could be nothing other than fully German"). Crazy. The search for her true identify plagued Edith for the rest of her life, as she struggled to find the balance between the Jewish Lawyer (just about) she was pre-war and the obedient housewife and mother that she became during the war. I did find it interesting that she said that she found no difference between Nazis and the people who did not stand against them, yet she also did not stand against them. She didn't wear her Nazi supported badge (or whatever it was) on her nursing uniform, but she never denounced them out of her desire to keep her life. She hated the people who she called Nazi (by proxy) (the people who weren't Nazis but didn't speak out against them), but she herself was one during war years.

I did enjoy this book, but not immensely and to be honest, it's probably one that I will forget that I read sooner rather than later. Nice while it's there, but not memorable.

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