In the Hands of My Enemy: One Woman's Story of World War II

In the Hands of My Enemy: One Woman's Story of World War II

by Sigrid Heide, Norma Johansen

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Early in 1943, Heide, in her mid-30s, was arrested in Oslo by the Gestapo for resistance activities. She remained incarcerated for much of the war, first in Norway, in a prisoner's camp and Gestapo prison, then in Germany and Austria, in concentration camps. In 1946, she published a memoir of her experiences, fictionalized only by casting it in the third person and as the tale of a woman named Tora. Republished in Norway in 1995, the book, which concentrates on Tora's experiences in Norway, is appearing here for the first time. Heide's story is a plainspoken but immensely powerful. Beaten, subjected to sleep deprivation, cold and relentless humiliation, Tora refuses to give up her secrets to her captors. Instead, relying on simple faith in God, she even forgives them and emerges as a symbol of saintly defiance. The narrative has the sensory immediacy of a slap. The terror can be palpable, as when Tora, to express her refusal to be broken, smokes a cigarette in her cell, against all rules: "She sat up on the bed and slowly lit the cigarette. With heart pounding and sweat pouring, she inhaled and smoked slowly, very slowly. Never before had a cigarette given her so little pleasure." But at the same time, there is some spiritual comfort in the prisoners' underground, in small and extremely risky exchanges of a buttered roll, an apple. Today, the publisher tells us, Heide "is an elderly woman living in Oslo." she deserves great thanks, not only for her wartime courage but for this searing account of a human being who remained human even in hell. Photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)

Product Details

Southfarm Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.37(h) x 0.78(d)

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