The Nazi Officer's Wife is a true story of how one Austrian Jewish woman survived the Holocaust. When considering the purpose of any material (in this case, what the author is trying to convince the audience of), it is important to consider the provenance of the source—who wrote it, when...
The Nazi Officer's Wife is a true story of how one Austrian Jewish woman survived the Holocaust. When considering the purpose of any material (in this case, what the author is trying to convince the audience of), it is important to consider the provenance of the source—who wrote it, when and where it was written, and for what audience. It is also important to consider the context in which it was written. In this case, the central argument of the text is the power of perseverance, self-preservation, and the will to survive.
The Nazi Officer's Wife was written by Austrian-born Edith Hahn Beer. Hahn Beer was born into a middle-class Jewish family and was a successful law student when the Nazis occupied Austria. Her book recalls her experiences living under the increasingly oppressive and anti-Semitic Nazi regime in Austria and how she fled to Germany and eventually married a Nazi officer, spending the entire length of the regime hiding her Jewish identity and terrified of exposure.
The memoir was written in 1999 for a global audience and recounts Hahn Beer's personal experiences and tale of survival under the Nazi regime. Like many other memoirs of the Holocaust, one reason the book was written was to inform and to educate, to enable readers to gain firsthand insight into the experience of European Jews in the 1930s and 40s.
Given that Hahn Beer married (and later divorced in 1947) a Nazi official, an unusual situation in the context of the Nazi regime, it is also possible that she wrote this book as a form of justification for her actions and her life as a German "hausfrau." It is not difficult to imagine the conflict and fear experienced by Hahn Beer, and her story is an exceptional one of perseverance and survival—a narrative of her experiences which helps to explain her marriage to Werner Vetter, for which she came under scrutiny and criticism from other Jewish survivors after the fall of the Third Reich.
In this sense, the book is therefore convincing the audience of the rationale for her actions and the complexities of survival under such a regime. Hahn Beer lived in daily fear of exposure, and her story may convince readers of the power of perseverance in the face of unimaginable adversity. The central argument of the book therefore relates to the extreme lengths a person might go to for survival.