By Susan Dworkin
Edith Hahn used to be an outspoken younger lady in Vienna whilst the Gestapo compelled her right into a ghetto after which right into a slave hard work camp. whilst she back domestic months later, she knew she may turn into a hunted lady and went underground. With the aid of a Christian pal, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi celebration member who fell in love together with her. regardless of Edith's protests or even her eventual confession that she was once Jewish, he married her and saved her identification a secret.
In wrenching aspect, Edith remembers a lifetime of consistent, nearly paralyzing worry. She tells how German officers casually wondered the lineage of her mom and dad; how in the course of childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that during an altered frame of mind she may demonstrate whatever of her earlier; and the way, after her husband was once captured by way of the Soviets, she used to be bombed out of her condo and needed to disguise whereas drunken Russian squaddies raped girls at the street.
Despite the danger it posed to her existence, Edith created a amazing checklist of survival. She kept each rfile, in addition to images she took within hard work camps. Now a part of the everlasting assortment on the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., those hundreds and hundreds of records, numerous of that are incorporated during this quantity, shape the cloth of a gripping new bankruptcy within the heritage of the Holocaust—complex, troubling, and eventually triumphant.
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Extra info for The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
They'd determined to make him an officer. “Come and spend New Year’s with me,” he acknowledged. i may listen the urgency in his voice—one final weekend sooner than he needed to face the Russians. I hastened to make preparations. Hilde Schlegel stated she might continue my child. I waited for Werner at a bit hotel, particularly only a deepest domestic that typically rented rooms to squaddies and their girls. The innkeeper and his staff behaved deferentially towards me—oh, convinced, they handled me with nice admire. since you see my cover had now reached the outer limits of absurdity, its most lovely incarnation: I had turn into the simplest factor a German lady may be in that point and position, a Nazi officer’s spouse. while I observed Werner in his officer’s uniform, i didn't comprehend even if to snigger or faint. That hateful collar! The brass! The eagle! The insignia of the would-be conquerors of the realm! He pulled me to him. yet I twisted away, repelled. i couldn't undergo to have that uniform contact my dermis. “Oh, take that dreadful factor off! ” I cried. We didn't exit that entire weekend. We stayed in our room and informed one another jokes. I suggest it. We advised one another each comic story shall we examine. one in all them remains in my brain. A German citizen desires to dedicate suicide. He attempts to hold himself, however the rope is of the sort of bad caliber that it breaks. He attempts to drown himself, however the percent of wooden within the cloth of his pants is so excessive that he floats at the floor like a raft. ultimately he starves to demise from consuming legit executive rations. The darkest funny story of all was once that as Werner was once marching east along with his comrades into teeth of the advancing Soviet military, he handed hundreds of thousands of Germans fleeing for his or her lives within the wrong way. They knew the warfare used to be over and misplaced. “Keep your palms crossed for me,” he wrote. MY UPSTAIRS NEIGHBOR and her husband left correct after the hot 12 months, very early within the morning. I observed them depart purely simply because Angela had woke up me ahead of sunrise. They have been creeping out, sporting with all of them their possessions and their napping baby. I opened my door. “Good good fortune to you,” I whispered. “And to you, Grete,” Karla replied. “I desire your husband comes domestic accurately. ” We shook fingers, and so they left. yet that evening, I heard a person relocating of their supposedly empty condominium. Footsteps. Shuffling. The clink of a teakettle. The creak of a mattress. I questioned who it was once. Then i made a decision it used to be now not my position to ask yourself. the subsequent morning, whereas i used to be within the rest room, boiling diapers, I heard a bad pounding on my door. “Frau Vetter! ” a guy known as. “It is the police! Open the door! ” It was once the younger couple, I thought—they had grew to become me in simply because Hitler’s photo used to be now not putting at the wall. It was once Frau Zeigler around the corridor, I thought—she had grew to become me in simply because she heard a tone from the BBC and knew i used to be listening. It used to be the registrar, who had continually suspected me; or Elisabeth, who had continuously sought after me out of the image. it can be an individual. What mattered was once that we had virtually reached the top of the conflict, and within the final moments, someone had denounced me.