I carried two books with me as I left for Vancouver, British Columbia. I had been reading The Nazi Officer's Wife, by Edith Hahn Beer, on my earlier trip to New Mexico. The book, which was made into a documentary in 2003, is the true story of a young Jewish woman in Vienna in the 1930s and during WWII. Beer survived time in a forced labor camp and the loss of friends and family, before going underground in Munich. While there she married a Nazi officer and managed to hide her identity. In the book she recounts a terrifying life during the war. Her story is made more powerful by the fact that she was able to save photographs and documents which have been placed in the permanent collection of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. It is always so hard to imagine the way the round-up and murder of so many Jews was able to go on while the U.S. remained neutral.
I finished the book during the trip and started the second, The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake. The story, set in a fictional town on Cape Cod is centered around the town's Postmaster in the last days before U.S. involvement, and Frankie Bard, an American journalist in England covering the war in Europe between 1940 and 1942.
It was just by chance that I started the one book before the other but I think it was more interesting that way. The true story put the spotlight on Austria and Germany. The novel illustrated just how removed we were before Pearl Harbor changed everything.
I finished the final book tonight. And reading both so close together left me with much to think about.