I really didn’t want to read another book about WWII and I really didn’t want to read another book about Auschwitz. I wasn’t going to read For Such a Time by Kate Breslin until later in the year to give myself a break from the horrors of war. Then I started talking to people who have read it and one night when I needed a new book to read it was the only one sitting on my night stand. I thought “Okay I will start it, I can always finish it later.” Well later was just a couple days after starting it because I couldn’t lay it down.
Stella Muller is rescued from the firing squad at Dachau by SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt. He found there was a problem with her papers, someone had marked them “Jude” and she was clearly not Jewish. He takes her to his headquarters and makes her his secretary. But Stella has a secret, she is really Hadassah Benjamin and she is a Jew posing as Stella to escape the terror of Nazi Germany.
Will she be able to work for a SS Kommandant and hide that she is a Jewess? How long will she be able to fill out the paperwork that sends thousands of her fellow Jews to their deaths at Auschwitz? Maybe God brought her to this camp for such a time as this.
Using the story of Esther, Kate writes a story that doesn’t leave you comfortable. She makes you think about what you would do in the situation that Stella/Hadassah finds herself in. You wonder if you would be able to do what she did in secret without giving away who she really is. How do you live with the guilt of living in luxury when fellow Jews live in such awful conditions? How could you save some and yet live with the knowledge that you can’t save them all?
This is not a quick easy read, but it is not as gruesome as some of the other WWII books I have read. It does make you think outside yourself and it will keep your attention to the end. It is a book that once you are done with it you will want to find someone else who has read it so you can discuss it with them and if you can’t find someone who has read it, then share it will as many people as possible so then you can have that discussion.