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Paperback Those Who Save Us Book

ISBN: 0156031663

ISBN13: 9780156031660

Those Who Save Us

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Heartwrenching

Wonderful story with a different perspective on WWII and the sacrifices made during that awful time.

WOW! One of the Best Books I've Ever Read

If you havent bought this book yet, buy it NOW. It is one of those books that keeps you up at night because you cant put it down- and one of those books that you dont want to end. It's words will stay with you long after you read them. Jenna Blum's characters walk off the page. This book should hae been on the NY Times as one of the 10 Most Notable Books of the Year.

A new take on the Holocaust

As other reviewers have said, this book is a real page turner. I absolutely tore through it, drawn in by the powerful storytelling and gripping plot. What I liked most about this novel, however, was the new perspective it granted on Germany and Germans during the war. This is the side of the Holocaust that has been largely unexplored in literature until now -- how ordinary German citizens confronted or ignored the crimes against Jews, while at the same time trying to ensure their own survival. There are no easy answers, of course, and the book does a good job of acknowledging that fact, while still hammering home the horrors of what happened. Most importantly, it kept me thinking and questioning: if I were a non-Jewish German, what would I have done? A book that inspires that sort of reflection and thought -- while also providing a riveting, satisfying read -- is a rare treat indeed.

Literature That Saves Us

Review of THOSE WHO SAVE US, by Jenna BlumIt's been quite some time since I've read a novel that I had difficulty putting down, and I read a lot of contemporary fiction. Perhaps the toughest criticism Jenna Blum will face is that her readers will complain they couldn't get anything else done until the book was finished. Of course, the story is compelling all on its own--the German/German-American take on Nazi brutality and the whole experience of guilt and shame as survivors in their own right--BUT, there are many compelling stories and not all of them make a reader hunger for the next intelligent, unusual turn of phrase. The experience of reading such rich, vivid language--words that have the power to create a certain tangibility in place and character--is what distinguishes her novel from others I might also say are "page-turners." The prose is lush, here, palpable in a way that brought me inside each and every scene.Given her topic, readers will do a significant amount of hand-wringing until the last page is turned (crying, gasping, cringing at the brutality). There's Horst's sexual shenanigans and then the violence aimed at children (Rainer's brother's murder and Trudy's German subject with the eye patch). Within my Jewish community I know many, many Holocaust survivors, their children and also their grandchildren; while all support the idea of keeping this kind of history alive through well-researched fiction and non-fiction, some shy away from actually reading about such things (too painful, especially for those who survived the conflagration themselves or who, like my husband, listened to parents crying out in their sleep with nightmares). I would say that all should--all MUST--read it because along with the pain and suffereing Blum portrays, she offers her readers the possibility of tremendous redemption from the intergenerational guilt that surviorship engenders. An important message about guilt and redemption is at the heart of THOSE WHO SAVE US. While I don't think a parallel can ever be made between what the Jewish people and Germans such as Anna and Pfeffer suffered from the Nazis in WWII, Blum reminds us that suffering was pervasive, that there was a hefty pricetag attached to survival for all because it often involved some form of character degradation (whether one became an SS whore like Anna or a Frau Kluge type extorting valuables from the Jews and then turning her victims in anyway); from this a lifetime of torment followed. Blum captures the ugly reality of human desperation, what is oddly within the realm of the norm when the topic is war. That she has portrayed this from the German perspective elevates it to a universal quality of suffering that offers the possibility of universal expiation. Even someone as sinister as her Obersturmfuhrer in the novel can be tossed into the pot of war troubles and deprivations fomenting during this period in history that made it roil with atrocities.Of all Blum's characters, I was
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