The Nazi Officer's Wife (2003)
"The Nazi Officer's Wife" looks at the extraordinary and unforgettable life of Holocaust survivor Edith Hahn Beer. Born in Vienna in 1914, Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman studying law in Vienna when the Gestapo forced Edith and her mother into the Jewish ghetto. Soon Edith was deported to a labor camp, and though she convinced Nazi officials to spare her mother, when she returned home she discovered that her mother had been deported. Knowing she would become a hunted woman, Edith tore
the yellow star from her clothing and went underground, scavenging for food and searching each night for a safe place to sleep. Her boyfriend, Pepi, proved too terrified to help her, but a Christian friend was not. With the Christian woman's identity papers in hand, Edith fled to Munich.
Edith was now what became known as a "U-boat" -- a fugitive hiding in plain sight in Nazi Germany. She got a job at the Red Cross and lived in a boarding house outside Munich. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi party member who fell in love with her. And despite her protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity secret. The two of them - the Nazi and his Jewish wife - lived out the war together, even bearing a child. Angela Vetter, their daughter is the only Jewish girl known to be born in a Nazi hospital.
Edith Hahn and her daughter survived the war, while potential exposure lurked at every corner. But Edith Hahn is not simply a hero she is a complicated woman who kept her story of survival secret for nearly half a century, deceiving even her children. The film explores issues of faith, family and identity in this complex portrait of a woman who had to bury her true self in order to survive. -- © Seventh Art Releasing … More
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Critic Reviews for The Nazi Officer's Wife
It is a bewitching and harrowing tale of the continual submersion of self to stay alive, told by a woman who survived the impostures in which she cloaked herself.
The amazing story of Edith Hahn Beer, an Austrian Jew who survived the Holocaust by passing herself off as Aryan.
Though The Nazi Officer's Wife is more a story of cunning survival than it is of torture, pain and death, it still manages to capture the horror of that insane and shameful period of human history.
At a brisk 97 minutes, the film skips over many episodes that make Hahn's book a pulse-pounding page-turner, but offers her rare perspective on both sides of civilian life during those nightmare years.
Sarandon narrates and Ormond reads excerpts from Hahn's memoir, supplemented by archival footage and interviews with the survivor herself.
The film does little to penetrate the psyche of a woman who survived the way Edith did.
If I had to choose a Holocaust film that was most compelling, this one would rate near the top of my list.
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