(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The story of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany is redefined for each generation. Admittedly, the details are obscured by repetition, and the present generation of young adults probably view it through a prism that owes more to myth than reality. Still, thousands of pages and tons of testimony exist in archives and libraries attesting the reality of that complex and multifaceted effort to destroy the Jewish people.

One aspect of the Holocaust, however, remains relatively undocumented and unexplored — the collaboration of Jews with their oppressors. STELLA is one of the few works, the first in the popular vein, to examine this phenomenon.

Peter Wyden, the author of STELLA, is one of the lucky ones. Although a Berliner and a Jew, he was fortunate that his parents were able to leave Germany for the United States before the darkness fully descended on the land of his birth. When he returned to Germany after the war, Wyden sought to learn the fate of those friends and relatives who stayed behind. In the process, he was amazed to learn of the Jewish Scouting Service — an arm of the Gestapo which used Jews to locate other Jews who had managed to escape detention. Moreover, he was shocked to discover that one of the leading lights of that infamous organization was a former classmate — Stella Goldschlag. Stella was blonde, beautiful, and the object of Wyden’s adolescent lust. Yet this woman, who seemingly had everything, became the embodiment of evil.

In an attempt to understand how Stella could cooperate with those bent on the destruction of her people, Wyden compiled this account of Jews who attempted to escape the camps and of their fellow-Jews who hunted them down. This is not a pleasant story.