Book #2: “The Nazi Officer’s Wife” – by Edith Hahn Beer

Edith Hahn Beer was an ordinary woman living in extraordinary times who now has a remarkable story to tell.

She was a twentysomething law student in Vienna who happened to be born to parents who happened to have been born to Jewish parents of their own. Her life was easy and privileged at first; a nice home, good family, advanced schooling. Then the Nazis came to power in Germany.

Adolf Hitler long believed that Austria was rightfully Germany’s to own and govern and it wasn’t long before he took over the country, due in large part to the willingness of many Austrians to follow along.

Edith Hahn and her small circle of friends hoped and believed, in part because it was all they had, that it would all be over soon and the damage to Austria, Vienna, the Jewish people, and themselves would be minimal.

They were wrong.

The Nazi Officer’s Wife is one woman’s story about how she survived a work camp and, when sent back to Vienna before being ordered to Poland for ‘resettlement’, dared to live directly underneath the gaze of the Gestapo and pretend to be everything that she wasn’t.

In the end, she found herself married to a Nazi officer, Werner Vetter.

That she was able to keep up the pretenses of hiding so openly among the Nazis is a story like no other I’ve ever read. As I read her story, I found myself cheering for some characters and rooting against others, then I realized that these people were real – not characters. Their story is reality, stark and honest.

No matter what you think before you start reading this book, you’ll think slightly differently when you finish it.

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