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German Girl? [Kindle Edition]

Vivian Bolten Herz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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  • Length: 370 pages
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Book Description

“So when was the last time you saw your father?” he asks.
I look down at my hands as they fidget with the hem of
my dress and say nothing.
He sits on Oma’s (grandmother’s) bed in front of me and,
reaching over, pinches my cheek with two fingers. In the
tone of voice that adults reserve for talking to six-year-olds,
he asks again, “Now, tell me Vivian, when did you last see
your Papa?”
I shake my head and say, “No, I haven’t seen him for a
long time. I don’t know where he is.”
The finger comes again, hooking my chin and forcing
my head up and toward him. I look into the pale, watery
eyes of the man in the gray Gestapo uniform. My heart
pulses so hard in my ears that I can barely hear his words.
“Have you seen Papa this week, Liebchen” (Sweetie), he
coos. “Who are his friends?” I shake my head “No,” knowing
that a few hours earlier Papa came to our street, near the
apartment. He stood in the shadow of the corner house,
watching me. I knew that he had come to see me, and
somehow, instinctively, I also knew that I should not go to
him and that he could not come to me. We looked at each
other, and then he turned and slipped away. It will be
almost ten years before I would see him again.
The Gestapo man stands and abruptly leaves the bedroom.
It isn’t until I see him in the living room, talking to Oma, that my tears come.

In German Girl?, I reflect on my extraordinary childhood years, 1942 to 1953, growing up in Nazi Germany. As a "Mischling", a child with one Jewish parent and one Christian parent, my experiences during World War II, and its effect on the years that followed, provide a unique picture of wartime life as seen through the eyes of a child.

My Lutheran grandparents hid and protected me while my mother was jailed and questioned tortuously on the whereabouts of my father. A Jewish man, my father lived “underground.” In "German Girl", I describe my father’s ingenuity and bravery, the enduring strength of my mother and the simple pleasures and comforting love of my grandparents stolen in a time of horror for so many. I have included copies of historical documents and photographs of the people discussed in the book.*

In "German Girl", I have filled my book with memories, pictures, reproductions of forged documents and the incredible story of growing up alongside the appalling destruction of WWII in East Berlin.

Copyright © 1998 Vivian Ert Bolten Herz.
All rights reserved.
The Library of Congress, catalog card number 2005351683
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,Washington D.C.
Catalogue card number DS135.G5 H 4659 1998;
Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Germany
Yad Vashem Library, Jerusalem, Israel., catalog card number 105-0271
Yad Vashem - Bet Vahlin Library, Israel., catalog card number HER-09

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3806 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089PSSRA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #323,806 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book and very personal book 20 Aug. 2014
By Andy C
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was a privilage to share in this book written for Vivian's family, and a life story so interesting especially told through the eyes of one so young at the time of World War II. What a lot to cope with in the course of the War, the toughness of ordinary life as well as the horrors of living under the Nazis. Thank you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  85 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Suprise 9 Jun. 2012
By Jon H. Oberg - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
When a member of our book club recommended we read her friend Vivian's self-published book, 'German Girl?', and then discuss it with the author at our March 2010 meeting, other members quickly agreed. We have hosted other authors (Susan Coll, Frederick Reuss, Dorothy Fall), but never one who is self-published. We expected a good discussion about publishing, but not a great book.

We were in for a surprise. Vivian Ert Bolten Herz has written a remarkable book, better than many others we have read from established, even famous authors. I'll offer an opinion on three that her book surpasses: 'Saturday'; 'Shelter Island'; 'The Memory Keeper's Daughter'.

'German Girl?' is the 1942-1953 memoir of Vivian Ert, a youngster who grew up in Berlin. It is full of detail and authentic. It gives us new infomation about those times. It holds our interest until the end, when the full story of what happened to her father is told. It does not suffer from an editor who forced changes to fit someone else's idea of what the book should be.

How could the author have written such a book? Sessions at the Bethesda Writers' Group; suggestions from author Mort Ehudin about how to write with detail; a lifetime of reading mysteries, to know how to impart a sense of suspense. And a goal not to publish per se, but to have the facts of her family's life recorded for all time. The book is in the Library of Congress, the Holocaust Museum, museums in Israel and Berlin, and in other libraries.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book 8 Jun. 2012
By Marcie K. Weil - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This autobiography is my favorite book. It is difficult to believe that a child could have survived the horrible experiences of WWII described in the book. The prose is wonderfully written, as well. The book was not widely available until now when the author's son has made it available on kindle. I bought a second copy for the kindle even though I have read it. I have offered to many friends to share my rare hard copy, hoping that it will enhance their lives as it has enhanced mine. Reading this book will show how resilient a person can be and how one can always have hope. You will feel like you are living this history, and you will finish the book appreciating life more. Enjoy this true, unbelievable saga!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure 11 Oct. 2012
By Up North - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book, written through the eyes of a child growing up in Berlin during the Second World War. Young Vivian was born during the Nazi regime, just a month before the Kristallnacht. Her Jewish father and mother who was "Jewish by choice," disagree as to whether they will leave Germany as the Nazis seize increasingly more power. Their decision to remain in Germany often looks to have been one with fatal consequences as the author and her family are stalked by the Gestapo, in search of her father. A particularly gripping episode has Vivian's grandfather hiding her in a rolled up rug during one Gestapo "visit." I won't ruin the book by revealing any more of the story.

There are many personal histories of this era, but what sets this book apart from others is its ability to bring the characters to life. As I read, I wished that I could meet Vivian's parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles - all remarkable and courageous people whose optimism often seems to defy their circumstances. This book should be required reading for all High Schoolers who are studying World War II history - it will greatly enrich the learning experience.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful memories 22 Jun. 2012
By Sandy Briggs - Published on
ALthough Vivi's memories are painful, she is so lucky to have them. So often I talk with people who don't remember their childhood, either because they have blocked it out or because they take it for granted. I so enjoyed reading this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the war 7 Mar. 2013
By applesmom - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
It was interesting to follow Vivian beyond the war years and see how her personal war continued. I wanted to know more about Oppa and his final years because of his impact on Vivo' s life as well as On A's. Sorry about the errors. Kindle is not letting me correct errors. I really recommend this book because it is a different take on Jewish war experience and the hardship faced after the war as well.
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