I have read many “Holocaust books,” and written one myself, and WHEN TIME STOPPED by Ariana Neumann rises to the top tier of the genre. When I read in the publisher’s promotional material that it was the story of a man named Neumann from Prague, I simply had to read the book. After all, I, too, am a Neumann (my mother’s side of the family), and I am from Prague. But this Neumann’s story is unique. His daughter, Ariana, knew very little of her father’s life during World War II and only began to discover the details after opening a box containing letters and documents after his death. Starting with this material, she spent several years doing meticulous research and conducting interviews as she pieced together the astounding story of Hanus Neumann. What reads like a a can’t-put-it-down detective story, is a memoir that shines light not only on the horror of the “final solution” and how it took the lives of members of the Neumann family, but also on the courage and smarts of Hanus, who takes on a new identity, moves to Berlin, and then he–a Jew–works for the Nazi war machine while passing on its secrets to the Allies.
This treasure is Ms. Neumann’s first book and–I hope–not her last. She is a wonderful writer and researcher.