Trudy Swenson, 56, is a professor at the Historical Institute in Minneapolis. She specializes in the history of the Third Reich. On behalf of the Center for Holocaust studies, they will interview witnesses (in winter 1996). Suitable she holds a seminar on “The role of women in Nazi Germany.” She wants to question to what extent the Aryan wife was “fanatically anti-Semitic” perpetrator and “part of the war machine.” For a differentiated view as close to her heart, her students should take a closer look: what it meant to live under the threatening conditions of universal dictatorship and meet the need, of which could depend life and death decisions? In retrospect, it is obvious that those brave women who risked their lives to help Jews, did the right thing.
But could not occur situations in which “the end justifies the means” sanctified, where a woman was forced to acts that they actually thought wrong that you were deeply repugnant? Justify, for example, the prospect of their own lives and to secure the other to enter into a relationship with a SS thugs?
Trudy’s question is no accident.
She approaches to their own family on this path of their unknown history. The relationship with her mother Anna (born in 1920) has always been cool and aloof. Since the death of her father Jack three years before they led only unavoidable duty Visits to Anna’s farm in New Heidelberg. After the mother last hard degraded health and mentally, even their old house was set on fire, Trudy brought her recently in a nursing home under.
The depraved property has the university lecturer prepare now for sale. Much time they can not invest it. But everywhere waiting reminiscences – cheap jewelry, old-fashioned clothes, some never worn, still provided with the price tags. In a single wool sock in the bottom drawer Trudy finds what she had brought forth as a child and young again and viewed in secret: “the only memory of her mother’s life during the war.” It is a gold-colored metal case, framed on, of small diamonds, emblazoned with a silver swastika.
If you open the cover, a photograph emerges. Anna, the young mother, holding her daughter Trudy on his lap. The child is wearing a traditional costume, the hair has braids. Behind them, an SS officer in full uniform, his hand stands proud and upright as possessive burdensome on Anna’s shoulder. His cap is pushed down over his eyes, so that not to recognize his features. But Jack is not
As a little girl Trudy had asked her mom for the man. “Where is he Why is not he here with us … I miss him?” But Anna forbade her to talk ever again from him. You should even wipe out all memory of him because “the past is dead.” Anna keeps to the order, taboo history and still do not know who her real father.
Jenna Blum’s first novel ” Those who save us < "Jenna Blum: "Those who save us" at"
Gerhard Brandt lawyer in Weimar, Nazi party member, anti-Semite and politically is ambitious. He often invites important people for dinner. Since his wife’s death, the nineteen year old daughter Anna took over all homework, and, moreover, it is a nice attraction for which should be able to find a first-class match. If the booted and uniformed men after dinner retreat to secret talks, the young woman is neither desirable, of course, nor does it itself has any political interest. Rather, it disgusts of the Father “geckenhaftes toady behavior” of
Anna’s heart beats for the former family doctor, Dr. Jews. Maximilian star. When they visited him, they play chess, drink tea, come closer. Not only his smile did to her, but also the competence, Care and Education of nearly twice as old man. Although he warns them that they make punishable under the new race laws when she visits him, but the abundant naive Anna smiles his reasoned concerns just go away.
In March 1940, the reality catches up with them. When the SS deported the inhabitants of the Jewish Quarter of Weimar, Anna Max’s apartment is devastated and no trace of him. She has heard rumors that the Jews were taken to a camp in the nearby Buchenwald, but what is really happening there, of which she has no idea. It turns out that Max is still at large and plays a leading role in the resistance movement. Anna hidden and fed him in the attic. They plan to escape with forged documents to Switzerland and published there secretly produced and further passthrough pictures about conditions in the camp Buchenwald …
In the present action, we read reports of interviews Trudy Swenson with surviving perpetrators and victims of the Nazi regime leads. They report on their observations and vague suspicions, rumors, suspicions and slander, of loyalty and betrayal, of material deprivation, despair and moral conflicts. In these texts, we learn as well as in further action to Anna Brandt, concrete examples of the humiliations to which Jews were subjected to in everyday life, and cruel details of the abuse to which they were subjected in the camps, partly in the name of “scientific progress” .
the novel is strongly influenced by the biography of the author. Jenna Blum, daughter of a Jewish father and a mother with German grandparents did, even intensive research about the Holocaust, Germany traveled and spoken (as an interviewer for Steven Spielberg’s Foundation Survivors of the Shoah ) with survivors. Your research has brought to light no unknown facts or inspired new interpretations, they are not even incorporated directly into the novel. However, the findings crystallize in the fictional design of realistic protagonist Anna Brandt, who has both feet in everyday life of their time. Her daughter Trudy Swenson, the second main character, is not an image of the author, but reflects at least their own interest in how the life of a German> average woman ‘may have looked like in the Nazi era.
Anna’s life takes a drastic Turn. An SS officer is behind the conspiratorial activities of the resisters, have supplied the prisoners with food and even weapons. Max ends in concentration camps, others were executed – but Anna, who now her daughter has given birth, the officer saved from death. With all that he knows about her, her life is completely in his hand, and only thanks to his protection they can live on, take care of their child. he takes advantage of their dependence, to live out his sexual dreams with her. In dramatic images, the author describes the shameful, degrading practices he expects of Anna. “All I’ve ever done, I’ve done for you,” she explained many years later her daughter Trudy.
With her novel Jenna Blum contributes to realize what many of the witnesses interviewed wanted: “The world should know what we went through, so that it never happens again.”