Winner of the Mark Lynton History Prize
A Los Angeles Times Best Book
A Koret Jewish Book Award Finalist
A Past in Hiding is a survivor story and historical investigation that offers new insight into daily life in the Third Reich and the powers and pitfalls of memory. At the outbreak of World War II, Marianne Strauss, the sheltered daughter of well-to-do German Jews, was an ordinary girl, concerned with her studies, friends, and romance. Almost overnight she was transformed into a woman of spirit and defiance, a fighter who, when the Gestapo came for her family, seized the moment and went underground. On the run for two years, Marianne traveled across Nazi Germany with false papers, aided by a remarkable resistance organization, previously unknown and unsung.
Drawing on an astonishing cache of photographs, letters, diaries, and documents, as well as interviews on three continents, historian Mark Roseman reconstructs Marianne's odyssey and the fortunes of her friends and family, revealing aspects of life in the Third Reich long hidden from view. Here are letters from Marianne's fiance, deported to the little-known Izbica ghetto; Gestapo records of the special protection that the Strausses and other well-placed Jews received from the Wehrmacht's intelligence division, and of Adolf Eichmann's decision to deport them nonetheless; Marianne's diary of her years on the run; and rare communications from Thereisenstadt and Auschwitz that track the fate of her parents.
As Roseman excavates the past, he puts forward a new and sympathetic interpretation of the troubling discrepancies between fact and recollection that so often cloud survivors' accounts. A detective story, a love story, a story of great courage and survival in the harshest conditions, A Past In Hiding is also a poignant investigation into the nature of memory, authenticity, and truth.