Those Who Save Us
By Jenna Blum
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156031660, 496pp.)
Publication Date: May 2005
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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.
JENNA BLUM is of German and Jewish descent. She worked for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation for four years, interviewing Holocaust survivors. She currently teaches at Boston University and runs fiction workshops for Grub Street Writers.
- How would you categorize Those Who Save Us: as a war story, a love story, a mother-daughter story? Why? How is it different from other novels that address the issues surrounding the Holocaust? What new perspectives does it offer?
PRAISE FOR THOSE WHO SAVE US
"Jenna Blum's accomplished first novel, Those Who Save Us, is both vast and intimate in its reach . . . Utterly believable . . .An absorbing tale of two women's struggles with the burdens and responsibilities of remembrance."-THE BOSTON GLOBE
"The book's power . . . [lies] in examining the emotional and moral gray area between heroism and collaboration . . .Those Who Save Us bursts with provocative questions about the ambiguous possibilities of culpability."-SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE