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When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  4,148 ratings  ·  692 reviews
In 1941, the first Neumann family member was taken by the Nazis, arrested in German-occupied Czechoslovakia for bathing in a stretch of river forbidden to Jews. He was transported to Auschwitz. Eighteen days later his prisoner number was entered into the morgue book.

Of thirty-four Neumann family members, twenty-five were murdered by the Nazis. One of the survivors was Han
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Scribner
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Marshall Johnson I am an American who has lived in Bohemia for almost 20 years. I have read a number of books about the Holocaust. Ariana's book stands out in my mind …moreI am an American who has lived in Bohemia for almost 20 years. I have read a number of books about the Holocaust. Ariana's book stands out in my mind as one of the best ones I have read. Her research was very thorough and I enjoyed her style of writing. Throughout the book, I felt as if I were part of the family that she was researching.(less)
Ariana Neumann Hi, thanks for asking! The book in Spanish will be published in September 2021.

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Angela M
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Today, January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the day 75 years ago when Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. I say this every time I read a book on the Holocaust - it is imperative that we think about and remember those who perished at the hands of such absolutely evil people and also remember those who survived, but not only today. Their stories are of the utmost importance and we have to keep listening to and reading them and hearing them because we can’t let this happen ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The search to discover the past that was never fully mentioned makes this memoir an interesting read. I guess this was the first time I had read about the Jews in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and I admit there were some issues which I found rather surprising when compared with the plight of the Jews in occupied Poland. This was not my first read on the Holocaust, however, it was not that shocking or compelling in comparison with other books.
Ms Neumann's love for her father and family
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Adriana Neumann has written the amazing history of her father Hans Neumann and what his family endured during WWll.
Ariana grew up in Venezuela daughter of Hans, a wealthy industrialist, and didn’t even know about her fathers history.
When her father died, she was left a box with all sorts of documents and a picture I.D. of her father, that had a little picture of Hitler on it below his.
From here, she did all the investigating to find out her fathers history.. unbelievable!!
Hans and his family
Elyse  Walters
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“This book is dedicated to the memory of those who could not tell their stories”

THANK YOU, *TAMMY*.... for making sure I didn’t miss this book!

Adriana Neumann grew up in Venezuela.
This book is a tribute to her father, Hans Neumann.
Part literary family memoir... part mystery detective tale....
....a search for answers and the truth: a daughters profound love for her father!!!

What Hans experienced during the war was horrendous and monstrous.
He could never speak about it.
It was only after Hans d
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a marvelously well written memoir of Neumann’s father. Hans was a Venezuelan industrialist of Czech descent, understandably scarred by his experiences during WWII which he refused to speak of. After his death he left his daughter a box of photographs and papers about his life in Berlin during WWII as a Jew hiding under the noses of the Nazis. Piecing together her unknown family members’ experiences (and worse) during the holocaust was a courageous, over decades long undertaking and is as ...more
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
****4.5 Stars rounded up****
"I just work and work so much all the time. It's the only way I have of trying to forget how many did not come back, how few of us left behind."
--- Hans Neumann

This note was written by the author’s father and discovered after his death (at 80) in 2001. He left Ariana a box containing a trove of documents and photographs that revealed a mysterious past which up until then was hidden from his daughter.

With incredible tenacity, Ariana Neumann began the painstaking resea
Jeanette (Now on StoryGraph)

"I spent my childhood willing a mystery to come my way. When it finally did, it took decades to solve."

I am in awe of this woman's extraordinary tenacity as she researched the history of her father's early life before and during World War II. She grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, where her father had resettled after the war. He never spoke of his life as a Czech Jew, and what he and his family had to endure in the 1930s and 1940s. When Ariana was a girl, she found a mysterious identity card with a
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
This was such a poignant moving tale and a daughter's gift in writing to an adored father and his family and friends.

Ariana Neumann knew her father had secrets. He was a quiet introspective man very fascinated with the concept of time. However, never did she realize growing up in Venezuela, that her father and his family had lived through the worst of times. Being Jewish during the rise of the Nazis was a nightmare and a step into hell on earth. Living in Czechoslovakia, and experiencing the fi
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
I love this author’s writing style. I love the humor. It took me a while to get into the narrative but once I did I enjoyed the story/stories. I loved the passages written by her father, Hans. They were incredibly powerful and completely riveting!!!

This is the kind of genealogical research I wish I could have done. I’m in awe.

The author has a lot materials from so many different parts of her family and others. There is a voluminous collection of photos of people and photos of documents and other
Craig Fehrman
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got to spend some time on the road with Ariana when we were both promoting our books. She's a brilliant and elegant person, and she's written a brilliant and elegant book. I don't want to spoil too much, but the real-life underpinnings for her memoir are incredible. There are mysteries and twists and heart-breaking realities that surpass anything most of us could make up. But what makes this book so special is that Ariana takes that raw material and elevates it with her lyrical writing and car ...more
Speaking of books that make me say wow, When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann is an amazing look into the life of her family during World War II. I laughed, I teared up, and I learned a lot about the Neumann’s and what it was like during the war.

I was incredibly impressed by When Time Stopped. Neumann's writing is exquisite, and I can tell that so much research went into this book. I listened to the audio, but I also purchased and read the physical boo
Paul Lockman
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ariana Neumann has written a thoroughly engaging book about her father’s experiences in WWII, firstly as Hans Neumann in Czechoslovakia then when he escaped to Berlin to work as a chemist under the false name Jan Sebesta. It was either escape or be deported to the camps. She also weaves in lots of other colourful characters in the Neumann family and life in Venezuela where Hans emigrated after the war. I thought it was a shame that Hans wasn’t prepared to talk about the war much while he was ali ...more
I always have to fight back my inclination to turn away from books about the Holocaust, WWII and the horrors of it. So much easier to read a mystery, or the life cycle of a dinosaur or suggestions for a bigger, better peony. But from time to time I am moved by friends, or recommendations, or a media snippet. . .this was recommended by our GR’s dear Elyse W. She stands willingly directing traffic at the intersection of “I’m done with this one!” and “What’s next?” avenues and I found this book. No ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Memoirs are always hard to review since you’re not evaluating character development, pacing, etc. So, I’ll focus on the writing and the overall picture Ariana Neumann is painting.

When Time Stopped is Ariana Neumann’s research into her father’s past after finding a box of documents that once belonged to him. After combing through the documents and talking to family members she didn’t know were related to her, When Time Stopped paints the picture of a Jewish family doing everything in their power
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible memoir. The way her memories of her father, and the way that the story of her family during the Holocaust was seamlessly blended was astounding.

I saw a review that says that this wasn't shocking and brutal enough for a Holocaust memoir, and I honestly don't understand. Did we read the same book? Are you really so fatigued that only the cruellest of gratuitous, gruesome tortures are bad enough? It's baffling.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If I lived in the Czech Republic, my name would be Zuzana Škývarová. While I'm actually English/Irish, I fell in love with my husband, Zdeněk, and, after getting married in Prague, I have happily adopted some of his Czech traditions and culture. I've learned to make excellent bramborový salát (potato salad) and rohlíčky (sugar cookies). And I love spending time with my large extended Czech family on our biannual visits to Europe. All of which makes it far, far too easy to experience this book no ...more
Tiffany Rose
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.

When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann is both a puzzle to be solved filled with family secrets from the past and a memoir that acts as a testament to the love of family. Growing up Ariana didn't know anything about her father's past, but once he passes on she finds a box he left for her filled with documents with a picture of her father under another name and
Gabrielle Belisle
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautiful, intimate, breathtaking and heart breaking. It reads like a novel and yet gives a better sense of what was happening to Jewish families during the Holocaust than any history book I've read. I feel so invested in the Neumann family and their friends, as if I know them personally. More than anything, my takeaway from this book is the love and hope that was so clearly poured into it. ...more
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, digital, 2019
Outstanding. I really enjoy the honesty, clarity, and journey itself that Ariana Neumann takes readers on in her novel. In these pages you will find heartbreak, confusion, growth, and so much love. Reading about the Holocaust comes on many styles, and in this novel you will experience the raw, undiluted story of one family, and the things taken from them, over decades of time.
I would like to thank Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my unbiased and honest review.
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
War, Holocaust, Jews, identity, assimilation, love, missing links, family secrets, and so much more, fill the pages of 'When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains'. Neumann takes the reader on a journey to uncover the mysteries regarding her father's background, and events that were too painful for him to articulate.

The memoir was not a fast read for me, but the content was well written, with excellent details, documents, photographs, and history.
Emma Bleasdale
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most thought provoking memoirs I've ever read, written with descriptive detail of an immensely talented new author. I am looking forward to reading all Ariana Neumann has to write. ...more
Growing up in the 1970's in Caracas, Venezuela and nurtured on Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, Ariana always wanted to be a detective or spy. After her father’s death and the birth of her children, she began exploring her father’s past. Her years-long search led her to the 1930s and the 1940s in Czechoslovakia. She met distant relatives, friends, translators, strangers, and researchers as she uncovered her unknown ancestry and discovered relics, pictures, letters, her father’s remembrances, documents ...more
Jazzy Lemon
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A true story in which Neumann discovers her father's secrets of the war, and is united with his younger self as well as her extended family. ...more
Janilyn Kocher
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adore family mysteries and investigative stories in search of family history. Neumann's book hit the mark. As a girl, growing up in Venezuela, the author was fascinated with her father's watch collection and his obsession with time. She knew next to nothing about his past until after his death. She painstakingly pieced together his story but also his extended family's incredible story, scouring the globe for kernels of knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, enhanced by the documents and pi ...more
Marcia Biggs
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received the advance copy and read it in 2 days. I couldn’t put it down! What an incredible story, not only of one man’s survival of the Holocaust, but also of the journey his daughter takes to piece together his story without him and to come to terms with the revelations she uncovers. Meticulously researched, the details she unearths give the story the richness and texture of a novel. At times devastatingly painful and at other times full of light, beauty, and hope, it was an entrancing read.
David V.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Received as an ARC from the publisher. Started 10-13-19. Finished 10-17-19. Excellent memoir of a young Venezuelan woman's search for her father's history of living through WWII in his homeland of Czechoslovakia and through terrors in Germany. Starting with a box of documents, letters and photos, she begins her research into her family's past and discovers the loss and gain of family members. She learns the details of dozens of her relatives, most she didn't know existed. Perseverance kept many ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found the first third of the book slow, and I thought about abandoning it. I'm glad I didn't, because the rest was fascinating. The author's father survived WWII and avoided deportation to a concentration camp by hiding in plain sight under a false identity in Berlin. Though he never spoke about his experiences while alive, he left his daughter a box of documents after his death, knowing she would piece together his story. The result is a book that is part historical record, part loving tribut ...more
Cosima Carter
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant memoir. Ariana Neumann's journey to discover her father's history is both a breathtaking tale of intrigue and a devastating memoir of a family decimated by the Nazi regime. A fascinating book. ...more
Kathy Gardner-Jones
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“When Time Stopped” Ariana Neumann's powerful memoir about her father’s life in Prague and Berlin during World War II was written against formidable odds. The greatest obstacle was that Hans Neumann’s early life had always been a complete enigma to his daughter. It was understood from an early age that his past was not to be discussed. On his death, however, Hans left his daughter a box filled with documents and photographs that would completely change her perception of both his life and hers.

Patricia Kitto
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fabulous. It’s a memoir that reads like a mystery and knowing that the people and events are real makes it all the more compelling. It’s also a family history research project that is anything but humdrum. The writing is excellent, the telling honest and forthright, and I cared about the people and felt anxious for them. There is a lot to think about in reading this - what’s the right thing to do in such extreme situations, does trauma get passed down, what causes some to help and some ...more
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We Read Stuff: April 2020 - When Time Stopped - Non-Fiction 1 10 Mar 26, 2020 07:22AM  

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Ariana was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She has been researching her family history, tracing people, uncovering untold stories and solving the mysteries of her father's past for over a decade.
Her memoir When Time Stopped (Scribner, February 2020; Argo CZ, May 2020; Les Escales FR 2021; Nagrela ES, 2021, Shanghai Nanquan Cultural Diffusion Co CN, 2021, Into Kustannus FI, 2021; 20/20 PR, 2021) tells

Articles featuring this book

  Every December, as we wrap up our annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, we ask our book-loving colleagues a simple yet incredibly tough...
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“If you want to be truly just in this life, when you see people who are weak, you must stand with them. Because you are strong, and it is the weak who need you more, not the strong.” 5 likes
“…it was during a period he had so much time on his hands that he felt that time had stopped.

How could time have stopped?

‘Because,’ he said, ‘and you will understand this when you are older, sometimes you feel that everything around you has come to an end. You feel that you are completely alone, that time is frozen and that you are invisible. At first, you might feel exhilarated by the sense of freedom, but then you’ll be frightened that you are lost and you will never be able to go back.’

He explained that when he first felt this, he had been isolated and afraid and had prised open his watch case to verify that time was indeed passing. The rhythm of the watch might have been imagined. Sound was not enough, he needed to see and touch it. It was the first time that he had dismantled a mechanism. The turning wheels, ticking each second away, had reassured him.

It was then that he had comprehended the importance of time.”
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