Edith Hahn-Beer had an incredible perspective on the war, experiencing part of it as a Jew in a work camp and part as The Nazi Officer's Wife, bearing children for Germany. Edith grew up in Vienna and was a non-practicing Jewish law student when Austria was annexed into Hitler's Germany. After a stint in a work camp abroad Edith was comfortable enough with German language and culture to disguise herself in in the heart of enemy territory, with the help of a friend's documents. She obtained a job in the Red Cross and dated Nazi soldiers, eventually marrying an officer. Working in the delivery room at the Red Cross she realized many pregnant mothers would spill life threatening secrets when given drugs. When Edith was admitted she refused all anesthesia and medication during childbirth to keep her secret hidden. Her daughter is believed to be the only Jewish baby born in a Reich hospital in 1945.
While not a book on the Holocaust per se, Wine & War is a glimpse into a facet of the French economy that's not usually given much examination. Snippets into the lives of farmers, Champagne house managers, vineyard families, small and large wineries, restaurant owners, and wine buyers and sellers tell the story of what wine meant to the French economy, the German military campaign, and to the spirits of those living in and fighting for France. One man took a six hour leave from the military to hurriedly build a wall in his father's world renowned wine cellar in order to hide 20,000 of the 100,000 priceless vintages beneath the Paris restaurant. A few days later Nazi troops arrived and confiscated the 80,000 non hidden bottles.
On my list for next year :
Trapped in Hitler's Hell by Anita Dittman with Jan Markell
A Garland for Ashes by Hanna Miley
A Boy in Terezin by Pavel Weiner
The Girls of Room 28 by Hannelore Brenner
Flying for Her Country by Amy Strebe