When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains

Scribner. Feb. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781982106379. $28. BIOG
Venezuelan-born journalist Neumann (Venezuela’s The Daily Journal) explores her father’s life in this debut. Growing up, she knew her father was different, but was told very few details of his past—not even that he was Jewish. Born in 1921 in Prague, the son of a paint factory owner, Hans Neumann came of age during a time of severe anti-Semitism. With the help of non-Jewish friends, he went to Berlin with forged documents and a non-Jewish persona, where his engineering background and industrial knowledge were useful to a company that manufactured paints for Nazi military projects. After the war, he and his brother moved to Venezuela, becoming successful entrepreneurs but rarely speaking of their past. Hans left his daughter a cache of documents detailing his wartime odyssey, which she discovered after his death. With determination and the help of translators, genealogists, historians, and family members, she reconstructs her father’s astonishing story of survival.
VERDICT Neumann’s eloquent, skillfully researched book will appeal to many, especially those interested in family histories and the lives of Holocaust survivors.

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