The Nazi Officer’s Wife – by Edith Hahn Beer – #bookreview

This book (Full Title: The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust) is a first person narrative from a Jewish woman who hid her identity during Nazi rule, becoming for a time, the wife of a Nazi officer. While her experiences bring to life many of the realities of such an experience, it didn’t portray the emotional aspects of the experience to my satisfaction. Awarded three stars on Goodreads.
naziofficerwifeI certainly applaud any survivor’s willingness to share her story, which must be incredibly difficult. Having to think about and relive trauma for no other benefit than to help readers better understand history is a selfless act. This book, however, is not among the best in relating such stories.

Like many others who experienced the unspeakable terrors of Nazi Germany, Edith Beer admits she didn’t talk openly about her experiences for many decades and only agreed to tell her story at the insistence of her daughter.

Perhaps what I sensed, while I read, is that she was never able to overcome her reticence completely. The facts are there, presented in a clear, chronological way. And the events themselves are interesting — like the increasingly repressive acts against the Jews, the arbitrary nature of people’s fate, the forced labor, and endless shortages of food and supplies. But there’s something about the psychological trauma portrayed that feels thin.

edithhahnbeer
Edith Hahn Beer (1914 – 2009)

It’s too bad because I admire the author’s story itself — her bravery and strength. Maybe a more talented writing partner could have brought that story more to life.

More about the author, Edith Hahn Beer. And a link to her lengthy online oral history.