"Those Who Saved Us" by Jena Blum
When I read I take notes on words that I do not know the meaning of, synopsis of the story, and memorable quotes from the book. In the book "Those Who Saved Us," I also took notes on the characters personalities, their quirks and behaviors; maybe I thought that by doing this I could understand them more, sort of like dissecting them for a biology class. The book speaks from two voices; a mother and her daughter. Often when an author chooses to write a book from more that one voice the reader gets lost; this book is very well organized, by date, place, person. The daughter Trudy was born in Germany, her mother is Anna, most of Trudy's memories are clouded by dreams that she has of a man that she believes to have been her true father. Trudy and Anna do not speak of this time in Germany, all is quiescent on this topic, not even Trudy's step father will speak of it. To Trudy this life in Germany and her mother's story is a mystery and Trudy is left to assume. Trudy is a professor of German History at a College and she embarks on a mission to interview German people that lived in Germany during this time period. She asks them where they were living, what their feelings were about what was happening, and how they feel about it now. Anna in the beginning of the book is a recent widow, later Trudy places her in a Nursing Home, but then eventually moves her in to her own home. Trudy's "mission" is really a quest to find out the truth about her own life. This is a great read and a great book for discussions in any book club. There are sexual descriptions of encounters, but they are not written in an arousing or sensuous way. As a woman I was painfully anguished when reading them, I wanted to scream.
I will pick one character from the book, I will not name her, but I will give my observations.
She is convinced that because her needs were greater, then turning in the Jews makes it okay, because after all she had to do something. She ignored, turned away from, indifferent, apathetic, convinced herself of rumors which gave her justification for what she did and others did. She still refuses to feel bad about the Jews, even believing that the Holocaust did not really happen, she believes some died, but because of the war itself.
You are probably wondering why the picture of the woman kneading the bread dough............ read the book!