Essay On Book "Nazi Officer's Wife".

2079 words - 8 pages

Since the end of World War II there have been countless published memoirs by Holocaust survivors as well as those who witnessed the atrocities firsthand. "The Nazi Officer's Wife" by Edith Hahn Beer is one such memoir. While most of the available memoirs go into great detail on the trials and tribulations of Jewish people in concentration camps this woman's life took a very different twist. After spending many months in work camps Edith Hahn was able to go "underground" and re-emerge as an Aryan woman. It was because of this transformation that she was able to survive the war somewhat unscathed. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of her story is that she married a Nazi officer after emerging as an Aryan. He knew her true story from the beginning and vowed to keep her safe which he was able to do throughout the remainder of the war.Edith Hahn led a somewhat peaceful life until March 12th 1938 when Adolf Hitler announced plans to incorporate Austria into the Third Reich. Jews were forced to live according to very stringent rules that controlled their every action. Although Edith was able to stay in her home for some time she was eventually forced to be deported to a labor camp, Plantage Mertens, in Osterburg, Germany. This camp was nothing like the concentration camps that appeared later on in the war. Even though the workers were not fed properly or taken care of the conditions were nothing like those in say, Auschwitz. Work in Osterburg consisted of backbreaking days in the fields picking asparagus for Nazi Germany to enjoy. Due to the fact that Edith was always curious and took everything said to her with a grain of salt it was common for her to question the work she was doing. Edith was given a very blunt answer when she posed this very question to her foreman at the asparagus plantation. "It is the role of certain races to work for certain other races. That is the decree of nature. That is why the Poles work for us Germans and the French work for us and you work for us today and tomorrow the English will work for us as well." (83) This answer is a perfect example of the lengths to which Hitler stretched in order to make sure that all his people understood his mission and believed in it as much as he did.Following her time in the asparagus plantation, Edith was sent to the Aschersleben labor camp. It is important to note that throughout the months that Edith spent in both camps she was being told that her being there saved her family. All the workers were informed that their families were kept from selection as long as they stayed in the labor camps. Just like many other lies the Nazi regime told both it's people and the Jews, this was not true. Edith's mother was taken away before she could return home from Aschersleben to help her. During her time at the labor camp, Edith was responsible for making boxes, which would hold food items to be used by the Aryan Germans. This was presumably a very difficult thing to have to think about while toiling...

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