Monthly Archives: September 2014

Review of The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer with Susan Divorkin

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I was riveted reading the autobiography The Nazi Officer’s Wife. It is the true story of a Jewish woman who hid her identity during World War II and pretended to be an Aryan. Edith Hahn ends up marrying a Nazi, but her identity was concealed. By a series of kindnesses shown by numerous people, some even Nazis, throughout the nightmare of the Holocaust, Edith Hahn escaped the death camps.

Edith grew up in Vienna, Austria and tells how easily her fellow Austrians accepted the Nazi takeover of their country during the Anschlusse. Suddenly, to be a Jew was a criminal offense and met with giving up personal belongings, one’s home, losing businesses and being forced to wear a yellow armband. Ready to complete her doctorate at the university, Edith was expelled for her Jewish ethnicity. With the help of her half- Jewish boyfriend, Pepi, she went to labor on a farm in Germany with the promise this would keep her mother from the concentration camp. She worked in asparagus fields with backbreaking effort to spare her beloved mother.

Woven in to Edith’s story are her romances, which either helped or hindered in her quest to be removed from danger. (You need to read for yourself to find out who helped and who hindered.) The hardships of just being able to get food or clothing are described, with sickness and weight loss. Yet, compared to most of her fellow Jews, Edith was blessed.

Of course, there is much more to the story of what happens with her mother, her boyfriend and what happened while she lived as a Nazi. But I don’t want to give the story away.

Apparently, the author (who also had a co-author) kept this all inside her for half a century before its revelation. After escaping Germany, she lived in England for a while, then went to Israel, but health problems forced her to return to England at the end of her life. She died a few years ago at the age of 95. The realities of what happened in a civilized society like Vienna are sober reminders of what can happen in the breakdown of law and order in a free society. I highly recommend this story for adult audiences. I found a copy at our local library and when I did an internet search, I found they made a documentary about Edith Hahn Beer’s life.

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Review of The British Josiah “Edward VI the Most Godly King of England” by N. A. Woychuck, M.A., Th.D.

As I have learned bits of British history as an adult I have found that truth can be just as exciting as fiction. In fact, I prefer non-fiction.Here is a book that is great for the homeschooling crowd. You can learn about how the Protestant Reformation began to change the nation of England. I wish I would have known about it when I was homeschooling my kids. It is the fascinating biography of the Protestant King Edward VI, son of Henry VIII, who lived from 1537 to 1553. In his short life, Edward took a stand for the truth of God’s Word, making it available to the people, and salvation by faith in Christ.

Edward did not live a long life, nor did he reign long as England’s monarch, but he was a child prodigy. He was compared to the Old Testament King Josiah, the boy from Judah who reigned hundreds of years earlier. Henry, his father, provided the best Protestant tutors for his son even though he was Catholic. Henry died when his young heir was just nine years old. Edward made a special request on the day of his coronation for an additional sword, representing the “Sword of the Spirit.” Edward soaked in the Bible teaching from his tutor and at age 11, wrote a “Treatise against the Primacy of the Pope.” The entire treatise is printed in the back of the book as an appendix. I was amazed at Edward’s reasoning and logic in writing this hefty pamphlet against the established religion of his day . Also included in an appendix are prayers from an excerpt from the Edward VI Primer.

The author of this biography viewed Edward in a favorable light, especially with regard to his faith, in comparison with secular biographers. Surrounding young Edward were those who decidedly took advantage of him and because of his age, Edward was limited in what he was able to accomplish in his reign.

I will not give away how Edward’s reign was cut short, but it has some mystery surrounding it.Upon Edward’s death, another (tragic) short-lived reign followed, by Edward’s Protestant cousin the Lady Jane Grey. (Lady Jane Grey’s story is also quite interesting to read.) Grey’s reign was brought to an abrupt end by Bloody Mary, Edward’s oldest half sister, who seized power. After Bloody Mary’s reign ended, Edward’s other half sister, Elizabeth, continued the reforms that Edward started. It is fascinating history.

This book could be read by junior high age students or be used as a read aloud. The author also includes an extensive bibliography at the end of the book. It was published in 2001 by SMF Press.

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