Cover image for The Nazi officer's wife : how one Jewish woman survived the Holocaust
The Nazi officer's wife : how one Jewish woman survived the Holocaust
Hahn-Beer, Edith, 1914-2009.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [1999]
Physical Description:
305 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Edith Hahn tells how she survived the Holocaust, first by going underground, using a Christian friend's identity papers, and eventually marrying Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who knew she was Jewish.
General Note:
First Perennial edition published 2000.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS135.A93 B44 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
DS135.A93 B44 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
DS135.A93 B44 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
DS135.A93 B44 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a slave labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith's protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret.

In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells how German officials casually questioned the lineage of her parents; how during childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal something of her past; and how, after her husband was captured by the Soviets, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.

Despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document, as well as photographs she took inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust--complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the 1930s, Edith Hahn was studying law at university, in love with her boyfriend and living with her close-knit, nonobservant Jewish family in Vienna. Her idyllic life ended abruptly when the Nazis took over, and she was sent to a labor camp in Germany. After obtaining permission to return to Vienna-and discovering that her mother was no longer there-Edith went underground and lived in terror as a fugitive until a Christian friend let her use her papers to create a fake identity. Incredibly, a Nazi Party member fell in love with her and married her, even after she told him her true identity, and she spent the rest of the war pretending to be an ordinary German hausfrau. Audie Award-winner Rosenblat gives a compelling performance in the first-person role of Edith. She narrates the story in a light Austrian accent, which lends a ring of authenticity to her reading. At times, Rosenblat seems to become Edith: sighing with regret over a lost love, chuckling over a girlhood prank, her voice filled with hatred as she speaks of the Nazis and with pure terror when she comes close to being discovered. Indeed, readers might easily forget that this absorbing narrative is a memoir, not a novel. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In 1938 Edith Hahn, an Austrian Jewish law school student, hid her true identity, posing as an Aryan woman in Munich. She married Werner Vetter, a Nazi factory owner, even after he learned her secret. Vetter was drafted into the German army, and Hahn's life became even more complicated. Using old newsreel footage; photos; interviews with Hahn, her daughter, Angela, and various acquaintances; and careful narration by Susan Sarandon, Hahn's story of contradictions and deception unfolds; excerpts from her memoir are well read by actress Julia Ormond. The original score helps set the atmosphere for this documentary of a courageous woman forced to deny who she was in order to survive. The Alden VHS version offers public performance rights; the A&E DVD has scene selection capability. Although the documentary seems at times merely a visual supplement to the memoir, it provides a personal view of ethical dilemmas, struggles, and betrayals. Recommended.-Denise A. Garofalo, Astor Home for Children Lib., Rhinebeck, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.