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Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
This is the story of Anna and Trudie, a mother and her daughter living in Weimar during World War II. The story bounces back and forth from 1997 to the 40's and is told from both women's perspectives. Trudie is now a German studies professor in Minnesota and her project is to interview mostly German women and some of the Jewish survivors to find out exactly what life was like for them and what choices they made when war was going on all around them. It's an interesting and different point of view from most Holocaust novels. It is natural to wonder just what you would have done if you were in those exact circumstances. Who is to know for sure? I always believed that I would be a part of the Resistance but maybe if my life and family were brutally threatened, I may have kept my head down and pretended not to notice anything so nobody noticed me. It's so hard to say sitting in our comfy home and not knowing the horror and constant fear that was the Nazi regime.
Anna herself would be the ideal interview if Trudie could just get her to open up and speak of things she has spent her whole adult life distancing herself from. (Anna was the mistress of an SS officer).
Jenna Blum, the author, works with the Steven Spielberg Holocaust Remembrance project and has conducted numerous interviews similar to those depicted in the book, which I thought helped to bring these stories to life so well.
I would give this a rating of four stars. The one thing that really bothered me was the complete lack of quotation marks from all of the dialog. I don't think I have ever read a book that had this peculiar style going on. It was distracting trying to figure out who was speaking or if it was just a thought.