Last Wednesday I stopped by at Books for Dogs' second hand book store located in Umbertide. A title attracted my attention: The Nazi Officer's Wife How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith Hahn with Susan Dworkin.
Gill one of the volunteers said me that she read it and found it very well written.
A special, tender, dreaming narration in first person re-builds the personality of Edith, giving us her most sincere portrait. She had to be an extraordinary and wonderful, sunny lady.
The character of the protagonist, "captured" by her own intense emotions. Edith lived a life made of big emotions and intensities.
I adored her so badly because of this high component of dream, open-mind and a vision: that all chances are possible in a life of a person. Yes: including the most unthinkable ones.
Edith was a Jewish and she lived during a problematic moment: the last second world war conflict, when all Jewish tried to emigrate, tried to escape for not being deported in Camps and where there was peril just to saying that the ethnicity was that one.
In this sense this book is a great lesson because it will give you the perfect mirror of what happened to little microcosms, common Jewish pacific families perfectly integrated with families of other religions and the change of wind caused by racial laws wanted by Hitler.
Edith was born in a conservative Jewish family, where marrying a catholic meant a terrible disgrace; imagine what it would have meant for her dad (dead in the while) to discover that her beloved daughter fell in love for a Nazi with which she got married with having her only daughter, Angela.
At first we found Edith studying for becoming a lawyer, and later seeing all her dreams interrupted at just an exam from the end because of racial laws.
All her family's life changed abruptly. Her beloved friend Pepi, for not being captured by the SS became for order of her mom, Catholic. And not only: the presence of Jewish people like her to Pepi's mom became intollerable.
But Edith continued to see Pepi, because profoundly attracted by him.
Later Edith's life lived a lot of changes as well...She went in a camp working hard per hours and hours but later...
When she changed identity becoming an Arian she met Werner Vetter, a handsome man, member of the Nazi party. She fell in love for him, for his culture, his love of art and his passions.
The marriage didn't collapse as you can think because Edith was Jewish and Verner a Nazi, but because this man once the war was over wanted to restore the beloved role of housewife Edith played with great efficiency during the war. Edith in the while re-started to work as an attorney and to this husband unacceptable.
It's a book of women's conquests, it's a book of cultures if we see it closely. A book of independence and choices, of beloved children and hopes, of dreams and memories kept away but after all shared for being enjoyed by everyone and for leaving a mark.
Anna Maria Polidori