The Nazi Officer’s Wife was a stunning portrait of the true story of a young Jewish woman’s survival during the chaos of World War II. Edith Hahn grew up in Vienna with the dream of becoming a lawyer, and had only to take her final exam to be official when the antisemitism laws forbade her from doing so. Edith’s memoir was truly heartbreaking at times, but her will to survive was inspirational.
The nightmare for Edith began was separated from her family when she was sent to work a German farmer’s fields for almost a year, then sent to work long hours in a factory. The tone of the story revealed her strength, her despair, and the turmoil she experienced as her family and friends were slowly taken away by the Gestapo. This was a deeply personal account of Edith’s survival that made it easy for me to sympathize with her situation. The impressive writing enhanced Edith’s experiences by including everything readers require in a good book: vivid descriptions of places and people, character background, and emotional peaks. After hiding out in Vienna for weeks, she obtained false papers and began holding herself out as an Aryan. Edith didn’t just hide her religious back, she hid her true self. After the war, her adjustment back to an educated and driven woman was not well taken by the domineering German soldier she married. Her journey to reclaim her identity showcased her continued bravery and zest for life.
I know I will be thinking about Edith and the strength she displayed to overcome the horrors described here long after reading this.