It's 1939 and Anna Brandt is eighteen years old. Relationships between Germans and Jews are outlawed. Anna and the man she loves are committing the crime of race defilement. When Anna is forced to flee the home of her father, a Nazi sympathizer, she takes refuge in a bakery owned by a Resistance member. Soon Anna is making pastries for the ...
It's 1939 and Anna Brandt is eighteen years old. Relationships between Germans and Jews are outlawed. Anna and the man she loves are committing the crime of race defilement. When Anna is forced to flee the home of her father, a Nazi sympathizer, she takes refuge in a bakery owned by a Resistance member. Soon Anna is making pastries for the officers of nearby Buchenwald while also making special deliveries,' risking death to bring bread to the camp's inmates. Then she is noticed by one of Buchenwald's highest-ranking Nazi officers. And everything changes. Five decades later, Anna has emigrated to Minnesota. She still refuses to speak of her wartime experiences. Anna's daughter Trudy has only one clue as to what they might have been - a family photograph featuring Anna, Trudy and the Nazi officer. Haunted by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins a deeper investigation of the past and not only finds a chance for redemption but unearths the heartbreaking secret her mother has kept for fifty years. This beautifully written first novel is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive, and the legacy of shame.
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This book was riveting. I couldn't put it down.
It was a true story through the eyes of Anna who lived it. Great read. I recommend to everyone who enjoys reading books of historical events.
The Jews, Nazis, Holocaust....all very real tragedies.
Nov 24, 2011
Great first novel!
This was an excellent book telling a story about a part of history that I never knew or thought about. The author did a wonderful job of making the characters real. It was dense reading but gripping and I didn't want to put it down. On the negative side, it was quite graphic in a couple of places and difficult to get through those areas.
Sep 22, 2011
World War II back story
This novel is based on a true story, and is difficult to read because it's just a raw story, but I couldn't put it down either! A Jewish mother in Nazi Germany does what she needs to do to make sure she and her daughter survive. The adult daughter tries to figure out what happened because the mother won't open up.
Sep 3, 2011
A WONDERFUL STORY. I HAVE SHARED IT WITH OTHERS WHO ALSO ENJOYED IT. THANK YOU.
May 17, 2011
As a historian, I don't usually read historical fiction. I just find that it's true what they say, that truth is stranger than fiction, and in my opinion usually more interesting too. But this book changed my mind. This is the sort of book you want to read cover to cover, without ever putting it down. The author is able to tell the stories of two women, decades apart without being confusing, and without making you forget about one while reading the other. The result is an amazing work that will leave you thoughtful and full of emotions. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-04-05 Blum, who worked for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation, takes a direct, unsentimental look at the Holocaust in her first novel. The narrative alternates between the present-day story of Trudy, a history professor at a Minneapolis university collecting oral histories of WWII survivors (both German and Jewish), and that of her aged but once beautiful German mother, Anna, who left her country when she married an American soldier. Interspersed with Trudy's interviews with German immigrants, many of whom reveal unabashed anti-Semitism, Anna's story flashes back to her hometown of Weimar. As Nazi anti-Jewish edicts intensify in the 1930s, Anna hides her love affair with a Jewish doctor, Max Stern. When Max is interned at nearby Buchenwald and Anna's father dies, Anna, carrying Max's child, goes to live with a baker who smuggles bread to prisoners at the camp. Anna assists with the smuggling after Trudy's birth until the baker is caught and executed. Then Anna catches the eye of the Obersturmf?hrer, a high-ranking Nazi officer at Buchenwald, who suspects her of also supplying the inmates with bread. He coerces her into a torrid, abusive affair, in which she remains complicit to ensure her survival and that of her baby daughter. Blum paints a subtle, nuanced portrait of the Obersturmf?hrer, complicating his sordid cruelty with more delicate facets of his personality. Ultimately, present and past overlap with a shocking yet believable coincidence. Blum's spare imagery is nightmarish and intimate, imbuing familiar panoramas of Nazi atrocity with stark new power. This is a poised, hair-raising debut. Agent, Stephanie Abou at the Joy Harris Literary Agency. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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