SURVIVAL IN THE SHADOWS: Seven Jews Hidden In Hitler’s Berlin
Author: Barbara Lovenheim
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Release Date: March 2, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
* I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
This is a true account of seven Jewish adults who were hidden by non-Jewish Germans in the heart of Nazi Berlin during the Second World War.
It is too easy for people nowadays to look back upon this bleak time in human history and think that all Germans were evil people who eagerly supported Hitler and his policy of genocide. This is quite simply not true.
Berlin was the heart of Nazi Germany during the second world war and initially had a large Jewish population. During Hitler’s rise to power he instituted ever harsher rules and regulations that Jewish citizens were required to follow. Those that refused to follow those rules were arrested and killed or sent to concentration camps. After his power was firmly established all those of the Jewish faith were scheduled to be sent to and exterminated in the concentration camps.
But Hitler and his followers did not take into account the fact that many Germans did not agree with his policies. Some (in fact, many) helped their Jewish friends and neighbors hide from the Third Reich. If these ordinary citizens had been caught aiding and abetting a Jewish person they would have been arrested as traitors to the cause. While fear of punishment was enough to deter some people from offering aid, there were a large number who risked their lives to do what they felt was the right and moral thing to do. These brave people need to be remembered and should be celebrated.
Everyone has read stories such as “The Diary of Anne Frank” that detail the lives of Jewish people in hiding in other occupied countries, it is much rarer to find an account of people being successfully hidden literally under the noses of Hitler and his goon squads. That is what makes this story so unique.
Also, I believe it is necessary to publish as many of these types of stories as possible. It has been many decades since the end of the second world war and survivors of the Holocaust are dying of old age. But these stories must live on.
It is important that the world never forget because those that do not remember (or worse, those who do not learn) from history are doomed to repeat it.
This book also contains a Postscript that informs readers as to the fate of the people mentioned in the book. This helps give the reader a sense of the continuity of life.
I love the fact that this book has a photo gallery. Seeing the pictures of the people in the story make it seem all the more real. The fact that Ruth was able to hide her Star of David “Jude” patch is astonishing. I have seen artist renderings of what the stars looked like, but until now I had never seen an actual patch.
It was also nice to be able to see pictures of the people after the war ended and many years later.
I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐