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Very difficult to put down this biography of Stella, a beautiful girl from a Jewish family during the rise rule of Hitler, turned catcher by the Berlin Gestapo.Basically, the book brings up issues of survival and self actualization, and the extent to which humans are willing to go to achieve either or both Stella was able to survive as a catcher, manipulating the trust of other Jews who dared to try to survive and wait out the war within the confines of Hitler s Berlin Brutal circumstances can serve as a crucible to either shatter or refine character While the worst was brought out in Stella, the issue of culpability is less clear Whether or not she was a sociopath or simply savvy under the circumstances is hotly contested.In one sense, Stella played the hand that she was dealt In the fullness of time, people can accept fiction as truth when the truth is too painful to bear After a prolonged period of time, eventually the truth loses its contours , and they come to believe their own lies as the truth This phenomenon is given extensive literary treatment in this account Another phenomenon the account dealt with is the psychological one of identifying with the aggressor.Lest you start lionizing this woman or feeling unduly sorry for her, Wyden who knew her when he was a classmate of hers in a special Jewish school right as sh t was getting really bad in Berlin painstakingly details accounts of all her victims, people who may have been alive or successfully eluded the Gestapo, had it not been for her machinations.Wyden s interviews with an aging Stella in the early 1990s are also particularly elucidating.Interestingly, Stella s only daughter, Yvonne, became a fierce Zionist who moved to Israel, and long refused to even acknowledge Stella as her mother. Considering that I have read dozens if not a hundred or so books on the Holocaust, it shocks me that this is the first time I have heard of the concept described in this book.We ve all heard of the term Kapo, but did you know that there were Jewish Griefers catchers responsible for the capture and death of thousands of German Jews This book is a page turner and therefore perfect for long Shabbos afternoons, for those of us who otherwise get our literary fixes via audible books. I was in Berlin a few years ago looking at an exhibition on Prince Albrecht Strasse former Gestapo headquarters next to a preserved section of the Berlin wall The exhibition detailed the rise of Nazism and included the Holocaust What stood out on this wall of misery was this picture of a glamorous, impeccably dressed young lady Stella Kubler posing with her boyfriend Reading the narrative it turned out that Stella a Jew was a catcher for the Gestapo She sought out and betrayed former Jewish acquaintances hiding in Berlin.This was something I had never come across before so so bought Peter Wyden s book He had been to school with her.Initially the resons for her betrayal were to save her parents from the death camps but after they were eventually sent away she continued her betrayal.Not only does the book detail her actions but asks questions about the human instinct for survival and Wyden gives a very balanced opinion It s easy to judge but no one knows how they would react under similar circumstances.I gave this 5 stars as the subject matter is so tragic and Wyden describes a hitherto unknown chapter to me of WW2 It seems luck, fate played such a crucial role in many of the lives of these people Primo Levi talks about something as insignificant as the switching of the points on a railway track the difference between life and death. Stella was some kind of monster Always ashamed of her Jewish background, she used her looks and wiles to survive WWII by being a catcher trolling Berlin to find the Jews she grew up with, gain their trust, betray them to the SS, and send them to their deaths The parts about Stella and Berlin were quite interesting, but there is a lot of filler here which is somewhat boilerplate copy about WWII, the Jews, and other stuff an educated reader will already know about Better than this The Last Jews In Berlin. The Holocaust is recent history that is imbedded in the brain of most humans today The systematic annihilation of Jews by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1945 has been documented in every conceivable way, yet what do we really know Constant new revelations come forward to shock and repulse us, generating new feelings that add to our personal perspective of an evil time Enter Stella K bler Isaacksohn nee Goldschlag, a German Jewish woman of startling beauty and ambition, with a dogged sense of survival for self and family, who engaged in the heinous activity of exposing Berlin s underground Jews and revealing them to Gestapo authorities, leading to the imprisonment and deaths of untold numbers of people desperately seeking safety Stella is Peter Wyden s 1992 biography of his childhood fantasy girl, a German Jew with luminous blonde hair, sparkling white teeth, and a winning, flirtatious personality Her shapely bare legs in gym shorts fueled his adolescent dreams She was his schoolmate and choir mate, always near but as distant as the farthest star Stella Goldschlag created a lasting imprint on his brain.Wyden and his parents, through good fortune, escaped the early Hitler years Stella was trapped in Berlin when the cleansing began and, inexplicably, became a Nazi collaborator, giving up her fellow Jews to the Gestapo leading to some being imprisoned and exterminated in the concentration camps When Wyden returned to Germany after the War as part of the United States occupying force, he discovered the horrendous story of his glamorous classmate s life as a catcher of Jews and resolved to uncover her story It took forty six years to generate this book.The Holocaust is a complicated and emotional time in our history Countless accounts of all its hideous aspects have been written Wyden has done his research and his accounting is factually accurate, at least as accurate as can be determined by the veracity of emotional recollections I learned some new facts about the conduct of the purge that made the book worth reading I struggled, however, with the author s narration when it came to the actions of Stella There was too much ambiguity and too many gaps in her story In the end, I found I didn t really know Stella very well I m not sure Wyden ever did either The book was published in 1992 and didn t contain the information that in 1994 Stella committed suicide by jumping out of the window of her apartment One could sense, by Wyden s final conversations with her that she was emotionally unstable and the ending was not far off It appears, however, that Wyden didn t see it coming.This is a dark read with many flashbacks and characterizations It s interesting, however, and well worth the read to get a fascinating look at a different aspect of the Holocaust. I nearly gave up on this book after the first twenty pages or so There is a lot of unnecessary detail at the beginning of the book relating to the early days of Jewish persecution under the Nazis, plus other aspects of the perils Berlin life during WW2, such as sections covering the allied bombings I feel many of the readers who would seek out this out of print book, would have a working knowledge of this part of German history Obviously it is important to setup a backdrop for what in the end turned out to be a fascinating story Nevertheless, some of the early detail did tend to go off at a tangent There were also other parts of the book I found myself skipping through due to unnecessary detail But please don t let this put you off The author, Peter Wyden went to the same Jewish school as Stella He immigrated as a child to America with his family in 1937 so escaped the holocaust Eight years later he was in occupied Berlin as an American serviceman when he heard about the arrest and trial of Stella for war crimes The writing of this book became a passion for the author, and he does a fine job of meticulously piecing together the details of Stella s life using statements and the histories from those who knew her This included ex lovers, Jewish resistance, Gestapo, other Jew catchers as they were known and interviews with Stella herself in 1991 She was a lonely insomniac by this time The book was published in 1992 so gives no details of her suicide in 1994 by throwing herself out of the window of her flat There is also a really interesting section on the relationship with her daughter who disowned her at an early age Despite my criticism of this book, it is probably the most detailed book about a Berlin Jew who collaborated with the Gestapo and sent possibly hundreds to their death to save themselves. |EPUB ♠ Stella: One Woman's True Tale of Evil, Betrayal and Survival in Hitler's Germany ♵ The Story Of Stella Goldschlag, Whom Wyden Knew As A Child, And Who Later Became Notorious As A Catcher In Wartime Berlin, Hunting Down Hundreds Of Hidden Jews For The Nazis A Harrowing Chronicle Of Stella S Agonizing Choice, Her Three Murder Trials, Her Reclusive Existence, And The Trauma Inherited By Her Illegitimate Daughter In Israel Pages Of BW Photographs If your looking for an individuals account of life as a Jewish Jew catcher in nazi Germany, this book is not for you I heard about this woman through reading and watching true accounts of WWII, and I thought this book would focus on her But as much as it has the read thread that links everything together it is so much then JUST about this one woman I think I m fairly well read and well educated as much as someone can be who has purely second or third hand information about the reality and stories of Jews during WWII This book has a chronologically ordered story, you re exposed to so much information about the lead up to Hilter becoming truly powerful and how Germans reacted,the life or u boats, survivors, children or survivors, the stories of those that didn t survive But then anything for me this book made me really think about ethics, my ethics, the ethics of others and what the idea of Ethics means in your own actions, your interpretation of others actions, and your judgement of other people It really threw my head for a spin, highly educational, moving, difficult to read at points due to it honesty, and a book I haven t been able to stop thinking about ebven though it s not what I thought it would be Ambiguous. The first three quarters of the book was interesting It describes a lot of things about German and Jewish history that I didn t know about or forgot about The only thing about the last quarter of the book that was interesting was the chapter about Stella s daughter and how horribly she treated this daughter The rest of this quarter talks about Stella s ten year detention in a Russian labor camp after the War It also talks about a trial that she had to go through in a Jewish court the Jews in Germany had their own courts just after the War where they were allowed to try their own people for crimes committed against Jews It seems to me that there s a lot of name dropping going on in the last quarter of the book. An interesting and thought provoking book providing a picture of what can happen to people s psyche under stress A bare majority of the book is about Stella an Aryan looking Jewess whose family were nominal Jews When others were leaving Germany before WW II her patriarchal father for a long time refused to try to emigrate When he did it was too late When Stella could have gone to England he refused to let her go wanting to keep the family together They went into hiding but were caught and Stella was given a Hobson s choice either become catcher of Jews in hiding or see her parents and herself transported to a death camp The book raises the question of what would one do to survive and see to one s family s survival.