Two accounts of Holocaust survivors, both told from different viewpoints, give important historical perspectives of the horrors of war

  • When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains, by Ariana Neumann. Simon & Schuster. $32.99.
  • The Happiest Man on Earth, by Eddie Jaku. Pan Macmillan, $32.99.

Ariana Neumann painstakingly reconstructed his wartime experiences after his death, and When Time Stopped is arguably as interesting in recounting the process of assembling the past as what is revealed. Papers, visits, translations, photographs, archives; the immense work of sifting through these elements to produce a memoir is detailed as the daughter tries to give birth to her father’s history.

The gradual disintegration of the Neumann family, the theft of their business, the endless restrictions placed on Jews (no bicycles, no public transport, no education, no visits to the theatre or cinema, no pets) make for harrowing reading. The eventual slaughter of millions is encapsulated in the fate of the majority of Neumann family members.

Read the article by Penelope Cottier in The Canberra Times.