Those Who Save Us

Those Who Save Us

by Jenna Blum
4.2 651

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Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.

Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother's life.

Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156035002
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/02/2005
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 27,311
File size: 576 KB

About the Author

JENNA BLUM is the New York Times bestselling author of The Stormchasers. Jenna is of German and Jewish descent and spent four years working for Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation, interviewing Holocaust survivors. She teaches fiction for Grub Street Writers. Please visit Jenna at, on Facebook and on Twitter: @jenna_blum.

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Those Who Save Us 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 651 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing story. I was drawn in and couldn't put it down to the very end. It flips back and forth from the present to the past with the mother's life, and with her daughter's life. Each time it switched, I didn't want to leave one's life for the next, but was quickly drawn to the 'new' story. This book made me think of 'Stones from the River' by Ursula Hegi which was also told from the German's point of view.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First of all, this book tells a fascinating story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The reader should be warned that the editing in this book was horrible. First, there are no quotation marks, making the dialogue confusing at times. Many sentences don't begin with a capital letter, the word "I" is sometimes written with a lower case letter, spelling errors are frequent, and one of the protagonist's name even is misspelled in some chapters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just started reading this novel and so far the story is really interesting, however there is one thing missing - quotation marks!!! I'm surprised no one has yet to mention it, but I have to say it is really distracting to have to read dialogue without quotation marks to differentiate between what is said and what is thought. I know the new trend for new authors is to forego conventional writing styles for a more free-form approach, but it loses it's effect here - I find myself distracted by the lack of quotation marks (I want to fill them in by hand!) instead of focusing on what promises to be a great story. Editors at Harcourt: please put them back in for the next edition! My 8th grade English teacher would have a heart attack if she read this novel!
ameara More than 1 year ago
In the past 18 months, I have read many books about this period of history. Most have been from a soldier's or a Jew's perspective. This was the first book I've read from the perspective of a woman...Anna, trying to survive WWII and hide the identity of who she and her daughter are. It truly is a matter of life and death. This book completely intrigued me and made me reflect on how war, not just WWII, but all wars effect women and children and what mothers do to come out on the other side of such trial. An amazing story with strong characters that makes you reflect on history. Would be a fantastic AP/summer reading list book for HS students.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down! Very chilling and interesting story, toggling between life in war-time Nazi Germany and present day. I highly recommend this book to anyone. It really highlights the difference between generations and is an excellent story of survival and love...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read but honestly this kept me up at night. Reading about something very real in our world and so gritty- reliving rape over and over and the heart break of a love one being starved and killed is very hard. Then, seeing how one's actions translate to one's children is hard. The parts of present day of her daughter are a bit drawn out but almost need to be to allow you to rest from the dramatically real times of Anna. I am not the best with writing but I do get distracted by typos and the like and in the ebook version there were plenty of them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Those Who Save Us is a very intriguing book. It gives an account of history from a perspective we are not accustomed to hearing: the German civilian perspective during WWII. It leaves the reader with much to ponder, and one walks away with the thought that history does not have such simple explanations. This book will spur a lot of good discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quotation marks would have slowed the pace--had no problem figuring out who was talking. The back and forth time perspective allowed the reader to know more than the characters, and yet the story was never boring, always holding your breath for the next moment of violence or cruelty or kindness or forgiveness. Anna is an iconic character, the epitomy of selflessness. The ending came all too soon. Makes you erase forever the smug question of how could the extermination have happened and why didn't they do something to prevent it.
PSD More than 1 year ago
Good first novel by Jenna Blum. We seldom think of the struggles faced by Germans in the Resistance who tried to help the Jewish people. I enjoyed reading chapters pertaining to the past rather than those pertaining to the present. I found myself skipping the present just to get to the past.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought-provoking. Haunting. Emotional. I found it hard to put this book down. History normally isn't my thing, but I have to say, this book has my mind reeling. As a young adult, I feel as though my generation is generally spoiled and unaware. The whole time, I kept thinking, would I have been brave enough to do what Anna did? To endure what she endured? And then there was the fact that this book gives insight as to what German civilians endured. At first I felt uneasy, like it would detract from the Holocaust if I saved any sympathy for the Germans. But as I kept reading, I realized it's just like Trudy said to her class- History isn't just black and white, there are shades of gray. As for the adult content of the book...well, life isn't always filled with rainbows and butterflies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While this book is well written and interesting, I found it to be thouroughly depressing. I do have to give it to Anna. Her character is inspiring as an extremely strong and brave woman who will do anything for her daughter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What would you have done in that time hero or horror maker. Would you have turned ablind eye? God help us if we do. We need to treat all men as equals Isrealites and Palestinians. We need to learn from our mistakes and harken to the light and pick each other up. Trudie has to believe that she was inferior...her Dad a Natzi who ran a cruel war camp for Jews. To finding her Mom was a hero who went out on a limb to protect her any way she could....even to let her daughter think her a whore to a cruel man.
Barbaraketubah More than 1 year ago
Many books written about the Holocaust are heart rendering and so sad, but this book is somewhat different, told from a different side. What would you do if you were in that situation and had to protect yourself and loved ones?
lorabele More than 1 year ago
I just read the excerpt. Although it seems like an interesting story, I absolutely cannot read a book that has no quotation marks when a character speaks. How distracting. Sorry, Ms. Blum, your decision cost you a sale.
Gelica More than 1 year ago
This book was really good...that is until you get to the end. I hate when authors just end books all of a sudden...i was so into it when truddie finally figured it out!! THEN IT ENDS!!! Other then the ending the book was an over all good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely one of the most sad novels I have read, however, it is also inspirational and meaningful. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a box of tissues nearby!
spamomma More than 1 year ago
This book, though the content is painful and tragic, is an important read... What strikes me as I reflect on this book - is the ways some of us try to correct our past memories by setting up similar relationships and replaying them in a different way.... I am referring to the way that Trudie tried to fix the memory of the Nazi SS Soldier with her affair with Rainer...trying to make something good out of something so horrible to subconsiously appease the affection she recalls for him. The affection that was only created out of childhood dependance and desperation........ I think this can explain the way adult children recall abusive parents and almost feel a dysfunctional familiarty with abuse.... Just a theory, not a belief.... but it is interesting to consider.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was hard to get into this book, but once past the first ten chapters, it was hard to put it down. Sometimes the switching back and forth was hard to keep up with, but it kept you going to find out the end. The end did leave you hanging, wanting a bit more.
dakras More than 1 year ago
This book is very well written and very heartbreaking what one mother put herself through to save her child.
lonelyshadeofbeige More than 1 year ago
I think the book does well to depict the stoic silent germans that immigrated to the US after the war.... interesting fiction.
lec1727 More than 1 year ago
This book was really amazing. It is moving and captures your attention right off. Some of the things that happened in the story are disturbing because although these specific characters are fictious, you know that similar things really did happen. I highly recommend this book.
YaffaOra More than 1 year ago
Like many novels around the Holocaust, this is a difficult subject. This book is well written and draws in the reader by going back and forth between the present day America and Germany during the 1940's, telling the difficult story of a mother and daughter then and now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was great to read a book about Germany during WWII from a German victim's view. It was heart wrenching to read about what non-Nazi Germans went through during the war, just to stay alive. This book was recommended to me by a stranger in the book store. I'm glad I took her recommendation and will definitely recommend it to others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story has pulled at my heart strings and has touched upon the fact that that people other than the Jews suffered during the war
Nellene New More than 1 year ago
I seem to be drawn to books about WW2 and the Holocaust. This story was so compelling, it was hard to put the book down. What would you do stay alive in war? Anna did what she had to do with strength of character. How much abuse could you take from a town that didn't know you but didn't want you? She held her head high and kept her dignity. I recommend this book for anyone that likes to read about strong women in trying situations.