The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust.
This is a must read for history buffs or anyone wanting to understand how one man turned entire countries against the Jewish people. I guess the simple answer to that is....he didn't. He already knew how most of the German people felt and just gave them a pardon for acting on how they already felt. They could lay all they own faults onto someone else. The Germans could take Jewish businesses, houses, and anything that was in either of these places with no penalty of being punished whatsoever. There was one catch though..but I will let you read about that yourself.
This could have easily happened in our country during this same error.
Did the Germans know about the death camps? Most of them did know that Jews were sent to prison or labor camps for the smallest infraction although I don't know if they knew they were death camps until much later in the war. But I also think they really didn't care one way or the other as long as they were getting what they wanted and were able to live in a lifestyle much better than what they had before Hitler took over the country. The Nazi's cut off most of the communication between Jews in the early days of the Nazi regime, so it was not unusual to not talk to a member of your family for years. At first most of the camps were just prisons for free labor. It wasn't until closer to the end of the war that they turned primarily into death camps. By the time Americans joined the war these labor camps were death camps. You could be sent to prison for anything. Walking on the wrong street, being outside at the wrong house, etc. Once in prison they would sentence you to a few weeks of hard labor. Only those few weeks would turn into years, but you did get back home eventually in the early years of the war. Because of this and because the communication was so bad the Jewish people didn't realize when they didn't hear back from a loved one that they might have been killed.
This story is about one woman's ordeal growing up in Austia during the Nazi regime. What she did just to survive shows what we can do and live through if we have to just to survive. Edith was raised in what would be considered in this era as a middle class family. Her father was a waiter and her mother was basically a stay at home mom/seamtress. Now I know what you are thinking. How could they be middle class if her father was a waiter and her mom didn't work. As explained by Edith herself, back then you had to train years to be a waiter. Kinda weird to think your waiter at your favorite diner trained for years, but you have to keep in mind he was a waiter for a very high end restaurant. He had to anticipate what his customers would want before they wanted it and remember everthing his regulars wanted without them even asking. Sounds like a very stressful job to me.
Edith was arrested and sent to prison for 6 weeks just because she was chosen out of a line. She didn't do anything wrong. She just looked strong enough to do the work they had in mind. That 6 weeks turned into 14 months. She was cold, hungry, and exhausted most of that 14 months. They did get some mail during the early days of the Nazi regime but their food was rationed to such an extreme that a lot of them were hungry most of the time. Without the help of some of her German friends she wouldn't have survived. Not all Germans were Nazi's or believed in their cause.
I won't tell you too much but as you can tell by the title Edith did survive the Nazi regime. Edith inspired me to really appreciate everything I have, but most importantly to pay attention to everyone in politics. Whether I think they are crazy or not. Hitler was thought to be crazy by the intellectual community. That no one in their right mind would believe him much less follow him. The Jewish people had time to get out of the country but they honestly thought that this "insanity" would blow over.
I hope you read about Edith's life and find out for yourself what and how people are capable of surviving. And what people are capable of doing to other people.
P.S. The book I read had pictures of her and her family. That made it a little more real for me. To actually see the pictures of the people she talks about in her book.