The Nazi Officer's Wife Quotes

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The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith Hahn Beer
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The Nazi Officer's Wife Quotes (showing 1-30 of 60)
“I thought: Now I am like Dante. I walk through hell, but I am not burning.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“The soul withdrew to a rational silence. The body remained there in the madness.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“But I think that 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.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“What about Adolf Hitler?"
"Oh, him. He's not a thinker. He's just a ranter and raver."
"There may come a time," said Pepi, "when people cannot tell the difference.”
Susan Dworkin, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Life is beautiful, and it begins tomorrow.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust
“They had been harboring a hatred for us which we had grown accustomed to calling “prejudice.” What a gentle word that was! What a euphemism!”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Once, after the Anschluss, I was stopped by a policeman for jaywalking. He ordered me to pay a stiff fine. “But I am Jewish,” I said. That was all he needed to hear to know that I was penniless and could not possibly pay, and he let me go. So you see, when they tell you that they did not realize how the Jews were being despoiled, you must never believe them. They all knew.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“When an idea is idiotic to begin with, its applications never make any sense.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust
“That's all it takes, you see -- a moment of kindness. Someone who is sweet and understanding, who seems to be sent there like an angel on the road to get you through the nightmare.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“It was the individuals who made their own rules in this situation. No one forced them to behave in an unkind manner. The opportunity to act decently toward us was always available to them. Only the tiniest number of them ever used it.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust
“You see, even the inhuman ones were not always inhuman. This was a lesson that I would learn again and again—how completely unpredictable individuals could be when it came to personal morality.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust
“But then the Nazis arrested Uncle Richard and Aunt Roszi too. They spent six weeks in prison. To get out, they gave the Nazis everything they possessed: real estate, bank accounts, bonds, dishes, silver. Then they left immediately, heading east. Russia swallowed them. My mother waited and prayed for word of them, but none came.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Mama had a decayed tooth that was killing her. Our Jewish dentist was no longer allowed to practice, but with Pepi’s help, Mama found an Aryan dentist who would pull the tooth. He wanted gold. Mama gave him a gold chain. He wanted more. She gave him another. He wanted more. She gave him her last. Three gold chains for one tooth.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Berta, whose boyfriend had walked so far to see her, went out without her star and was immediately arrested and sent to a concentration camp.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“In the morning, real nurses taught us the rudiments of anatomy and instructed us in the preparation of dressings and bandages. But then in the afternoon, representatives of the Frauenschaft, the women’s auxiliary of the Nazi Party, came to instruct us in our real mission: to boost the morale of the wounded and spread the propaganda of German invincibility. “You must make sure that every single soldier in your care knows that, despite the cowardly British air attack last May, the Cologne cathedral is still standing,” said the sturdy, uniformed instructor. “You must also tell everyone that there has been no bombing in the Rhineland. Am I clear?” “Yes, ma’am,” we all said. In fact, the Rhineland was being crushed by Allied air attacks.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Something always happened, you see. A Yiddish song on Hanukkah, a British rabbi's prayer on the radio, some kindness on a train or in the street that reminded me, no matter how far I retreated, no matter how deep into self-denial my fear drove me, that the Jews would always be my people and I would always belong to them.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“I think my father knew how to be Jewish, but he didn't teach us. He must have thought we would absorb it with our mother's milk.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Often, the teachers would ask me what language we spoke at home. This was a not-so-subtle way of discovering if we spoke Yiddish (which we didn’t) and were therefore Jewish (which we were).”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“They wanted to know, you see. They were afraid that with our typical Austrian faces, we might be able to pass. They didn’t want to be fooled. Even then, in the 1920s, they wanted to be able to tell who was a Jew.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“One day Anton Rieder, my old crush from high school, sat down next to me. He had been fatherless since we were kids. He knew the feeling—the loss of direction, the insecurity, the premature aging. “You are still beautiful,” he said. “And you were always gallant.” “I’ve enrolled at the Consular Academy. I’m going there not because I am so eager to be a diplomat, but because they have given me a scholarship.” “But it will be wonderful for you, Anton. You will be able to travel, maybe even go to England or America.” “Come with me.” “What?” “I know you go with Pepi Rosenfeld, but believe me, he’s too smart for his own good—his brains will always get in the way of his conscience. He’s not fine enough for you. I have always been in love with you; you know that. Leave him and come with me. I have nothing. Now your father is dead, and you have nothing. We’ll be perfect together.” He reached across the library table and took my hand. He was so handsome, so earnest. For a moment, I thought: “Maybe. Why not?” And then of course all the reasons why not spilled onto the long oak table, and Anton could not fail to see them there; and like a wise young diplomat, he rose and kissed my hand and took his leave.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“ONE OF THE first things the Nazis did was to distribute 100,000 free radio sets to the Austrian Christians. Where did they get these radios? From us, of course. Right after the Anschluss, the Jews were required to turn in their typewriters and their radios, the idea being that if we could not communicate with each other or the outside world, we would be isolated and more easily terrorized and manipulated. It was a good idea. It worked well.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“The Nazi radio blamed us for every filthy evil thing in this world. The Nazis called us subhuman and, in the next breath, superhuman; accused us of plotting to murder them, to rob them blind; declared that they had to conquer the world to prevent us from conquering the world. The radio said that we must be dispossessed of all we owned; that my father, who had dropped dead while working, had not really worked for our pleasant flat—the leather chairs in the dining room, the earrings in my mother’s ears—that he had somehow stolen them from Christian Austria, which now had every right to take them back.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Uncle Richard went to the café where he had been going for twenty years. It now had a Jewish side and an Aryan side, and he sat on the Jewish side. Because he had fair hair and didn’t look Jewish, a waiter, who did not know him, said he had to move to the Aryan side. But on the Aryan side, a waiter who did know him said that he had to go back to the Jewish side. He finally gave up and went home.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Baron Louis de Rothschild, one of the wealthiest Jewish men in Vienna, tried to leave the city. The Nazis stopped him at the airport and put him in prison, and whatever they did to him there convinced him that he ought to sign over everything to the Nazi regime. Then they let him leave. The SS took over the Rothschild Palace on Prinz Eugenstrasse and renamed it the Center for Jewish Emigration.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Man is a greater thing than you have thought him,”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust
“All the Jews of Polish origin were being sent back to the land of their forefathers, and so the two gentle sisters kissed us and packed and left. We sent them packages in care of the Jewish community in Warsaw, but of course the packages were returned because it was illegal to send anything to Jews. So we took the advice of a wily neighbor, wrote the address in Polish, and like magic the packages arrived.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“On occasion, Frau Mertens, looking clean and fresh, would walk out into the fields to see how things were going. She had a colonial largesse about her. By way of greeting, she said “Heil Hitler” to us, with a smile. We would straightened up from the muddy earth and stare at her. No one said a word. She seemed disappointed.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“I think that 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.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust
“It quickly became apparent that the Germans were interested in using our strength but not in preserving it. We received a ration of “flower coffee”—made not from coffee beans but from flowers, or maybe acorns. We each had half a loaf of bread, which had to last us from Sunday to Wednesday. At midday, we had a cold soup made from broken asparagus that couldn’t be sold, or a mustard soup with potatoes, and maybe a hard-boiled egg. At night, we had a milk soup; on lucky days, it contained some oatmeal.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
“Regularly the police posted notices to alert us to some activity, previously considered normal, which had now become a crime. Going to a dance hall, attending the cinema, drinking a beer in a café—all became crimes for us Jews. And the worst crime of all, said Frau Fleschner, pointing to the notice, was Rassenschande, racial disgrace—specifically, sexual relations between Germans and Jews. You could go to jail for that, she said.”
Edith Hahn Beer, The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust

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