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Those Who Save Us

por Jenna Blum

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3,0671664,432 (4.03)1 / 79
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For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.

Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother's life.

Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

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This book switched back and forth in the story between Anna's life in 1940s Nazi Germany, and Trudy's (Anna's daughter) life,as a history professor in current day Minnesota. Why wouldn't Anna tell her daughter who her father was? It made me crazy that Anna was content with letting her daughter think her father was a sadistic Nazi official at a concentration camp.

( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
The main character Anna , was not , in my opinion, a likeable character nor could I understand her behaviour most of the time. I was so annoyed that she would not speak to her daughter about their shared posts in Germany during the war. Her poor daughter Trudy was living a life of research ( she was a professor of German history) trying to find out what her mother refused to share. Then one line at the very end of this novel really stuck with me , “ Weather she is a hero or not is immaterial . Each person has the choice to make about how to live with the past, thus dignity, thus invisible right.”
A novel of secrets and shame and perhaps forgiveness . Well written. ( )
  Smits | Oct 30, 2023 |
I have read many novels about WWII and The Holocaust, but none are as gripping and compelling as "Those Who Save Us." Author Jenna Blum worked for 4 years as an interviewer at Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which was established in 1994, by film director Steven Spielberg to videotape the firsthand testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses and make them accessible for educational uses. Ms. Blum also used other sources included in her Acknowledgements at the end of the novel. Many can research, but few can refine the research to become the intense and riveting historical fiction reading experience that Jenna Blum has crafted.

Whether one is in present-day Minnesota with Trudy as an adult and her mother, Anna, or back in Weimar, Germany, during the war, the story permeates every fiber of one's thoughts, heart, and soul. Steven Spielberg has taught us about The Holocaust visually, and now Jenna Blum is teaching us with written words, and each provides an extraordinary poignancy of a time in world history that should never be forgotten. I fear that we, as the world, have not learned our lessons well and am deeply saddened that some are not even trying to remember and some are not being taught the lessons of the past. ( )
  FerneMysteryReader | Sep 27, 2023 |
Those Who Save Us is an interesting, engrossing and at times moving account of the Holocaust and the long term affects it had on both the Jewish victims and the German perpetrators. And if I hadn't just finished reading The Kindly Ones, the brilliant novel about the horrors of the Holocaust by Jonathan Littell I just might have thrown in some superlative adjectives for Those Who Saved Us, but unfortunately the stark images of the Kindly Ones are still fresh in my mind, and compared to those; the ones in Those Who Save Us pale in comparison. ( )
  kevinkevbo | Jul 14, 2023 |
This book does a lot of things right. In fact, it was a five star read for me up until the last quarter.

It tells the tale of Anna, a German who finds herself a single mother in the midst of WWII Germany. Anna's tale is told in both the present day and the past in separate, alternating sections. I loved the structure of this book as it doled out tidbits of insight all along the way, and it made it very clear how Anna's past impacted her present in American. Anna's relationship with her daughter is very interesting as well, and the daughter's tale becomes more prominent as the story progresses.

I felt that as historical fiction, Those Who Save Us was different as it looked at WWII mostly through German eyes. It also isn't for the faint of heart - - many scenes are graphic, both in violence and sexual content. At times, I thought some of the graphic-ness was gratuitous. Mostly not, but some.

I also didn't really love the characters wholeheartedly. They were by and large quite flawed, and some had fewer redeeming qualities than others. But at the same time, I did think they were very interesting and the interplay amongst them was riveting.

Blum is just a great story teller. I read the book in a few days, and I didn't want to put it down. I definitely would recommend it to certain readers. My only quibble was some portions of the ending just struck me as a tad too convenient. Not ridiculously unlikely, but enough to make me go, "really?" ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Jenna Blumautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Delporte, CaroleTraductionautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Metaal, CarolienTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Scocchera, GiovannaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Toren, SuzanneNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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I had voluntarily joined the ranks of the active SS and I had become too fond of the black uniform to relinquish it in this way. -Rudolph Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz.
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This book is for my mother, France Joerg Blum, who took me to Germany and gave me the key: Ich liebe Dich, meine Mutti. And it is in beloved memory of my dad, Robert P. Blum, who would have said Mazel tov.
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The funeral is well attended, the New Heidelburg Lutheran Church packed to capacity with farmers and their families who have come to bid farewell to one of their own.
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.

Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother's life.

Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

.

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