When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father, Survival, and What Remains

Ariana Neumann. Scribner, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-9821-0637-9
Neumann, a former foreign correspondent for Venezuela’s Daily Journal, debuts with a deeply moving account of her father’s life during the Holocaust. Growing up as a girl of privilege in Caracas, Venezuela, Neumann formed a Nancy Drew–type sleuthing club with friends. By accident, she came across a box containing papers and other documents for a man named Jan Sebesta, but with a photo of her father, Hans. Soon, though, the box disappeared. It would be decades before Neumann rediscovered the photo, and it proved to be the springboard for a spy-worthy story of her now-deceased father surviving the Holocaust by living in plain sight in Berlin under an assumed identity. By poring over letters sent to her father from Terezin, a Nazi concentration camp near Prague, Neumann learns that of 34 members of the Neumann family living in Czechoslovakia during WWII, 25 were killed by the Nazis. Using the letters—as well as those written by her father—she searches for and meets cousins she didn’t know existed, who help fill in details, such as that her “father was a valued member of the fire brigade” in 1944. This gripping, expertly researched narrative will inspire those looking to uncover their own family histories. (Feb.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated the author's mother hid the box containing documents the author found as a child.

Reviewed on : 12/02/2019
Release date: 02/04/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0123-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4711-9116-9
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