Sunday 28 November 2021

On the joys of little free libraries...

It’s very early on this chilly Sunday morning.  There is a dusting of snow right now and more is expected to fall throughout the day.  Good thing I have my steaming cup of chai to keep me company as I begin this blog.

I finished reading a book that I found in one of the little free libraries that are everywhere these days.  It is something I would never have sought out in a public library for a couple of reasons.  First, it is non-fiction, which I hardly ever read.  Second, since the public library has so many books, I would probably never have chosen this, instead going for some other book that I thought would be more to my liking.  So it was serendipitous that I was at the right little free library (not one I normally go to) at the right time.  The book in question is The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer.  This memoir tells the story of how one Jewish woman from Vienna survived the Holocaust by becoming a “u-boat”, or a Jew hiding in German society.  Edith was just finishing up her law degree when the violence of Kristallnacht brought home the reality of Hitler’s terror.  She was expelled from the university and sent to work on a farm, then in a factory, and once she returned home, she realized that the only way to survive the growing threat of anti-Semitic laws and widespread hatred of the Jews was to assume a Christian identity and hope this deception was never discovered.  I can’t give away any more details, but let me tell you that this was one of those books that I just could not put down.  The story and the writing style grabbed me immediately and didn’t let go until the very last page, which I turned, hoping for one more chapter.  The conversational tone, as though she were telling her story over a cup of coffee, really made this story accessible.  She wasn’t out to teach a lesson, only to convey her story so others could understand what she and many others went through in order to survive.  I would highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in WWII history and memoirs, especially women’s stories.  

That’s all for today.  Stay warm and keep reading!

Bye for now…

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