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When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains

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In 1941, the first Neumann family member was taken by the Nazis, arrested in German-occupied Czechoslovakia for bathing in a stretch of river forbidden to Jews. He was transported to Auschwitz. Eighteen days later his prisoner number was entered into the morgue book. Of thirty-four Neumann family members, twenty-five were murdered by the Nazis. One of the survivors was Han In 1941, the first Neumann family member was taken by the Nazis, arrested in German-occupied Czechoslovakia for bathing in a stretch of river forbidden to Jews. He was transported to Auschwitz. Eighteen days later his prisoner number was entered into the morgue book. Of thirty-four Neumann family members, twenty-five were murdered by the Nazis. One of the survivors was Hans Neumann, who, to escape the German death net, traveled to Berlin and hid in plain sight under the Gestapo’s eyes. What Hans experienced was so unspeakable that, when he built an industrial empire in Venezuela, he couldn’t bring himself to talk about it. All his daughter Ariana knew was that something terrible had happened. When Hans died, he left Ariana a small box filled with letters, diary entries, and other memorabilia. Ten years later Ariana finally summoned the courage to have the letters translated, and she began reading. What she discovered launched her on a worldwide search that would deliver indelible portraits of a family loving, finding meaning, and trying to survive amid the worst that can be imagined. When Time Stopped is a detective story and an epic family memoir, spanning nearly ninety years and crossing oceans. Neumann brings each relative to vivid life. In uncovering her father’s story after all these years, she discovers nuance and depth to her own history and liberates poignant and thought-provoking truths about the threads of humanity that connect us all.


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In 1941, the first Neumann family member was taken by the Nazis, arrested in German-occupied Czechoslovakia for bathing in a stretch of river forbidden to Jews. He was transported to Auschwitz. Eighteen days later his prisoner number was entered into the morgue book. Of thirty-four Neumann family members, twenty-five were murdered by the Nazis. One of the survivors was Han In 1941, the first Neumann family member was taken by the Nazis, arrested in German-occupied Czechoslovakia for bathing in a stretch of river forbidden to Jews. He was transported to Auschwitz. Eighteen days later his prisoner number was entered into the morgue book. Of thirty-four Neumann family members, twenty-five were murdered by the Nazis. One of the survivors was Hans Neumann, who, to escape the German death net, traveled to Berlin and hid in plain sight under the Gestapo’s eyes. What Hans experienced was so unspeakable that, when he built an industrial empire in Venezuela, he couldn’t bring himself to talk about it. All his daughter Ariana knew was that something terrible had happened. When Hans died, he left Ariana a small box filled with letters, diary entries, and other memorabilia. Ten years later Ariana finally summoned the courage to have the letters translated, and she began reading. What she discovered launched her on a worldwide search that would deliver indelible portraits of a family loving, finding meaning, and trying to survive amid the worst that can be imagined. When Time Stopped is a detective story and an epic family memoir, spanning nearly ninety years and crossing oceans. Neumann brings each relative to vivid life. In uncovering her father’s story after all these years, she discovers nuance and depth to her own history and liberates poignant and thought-provoking truths about the threads of humanity that connect us all.

30 review for When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    Today, January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the day 75 years ago when Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. I say this every time I read a book on the Holocaust - it is imperative that we think about and remember those who perished at the hands of such absolutely evil people and also remember those who survived, but not only today. Their stories are of the utmost importance and we have to keep listening to and reading them and hearing them because we can’t let this happen Today, January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the day 75 years ago when Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. I say this every time I read a book on the Holocaust - it is imperative that we think about and remember those who perished at the hands of such absolutely evil people and also remember those who survived, but not only today. Their stories are of the utmost importance and we have to keep listening to and reading them and hearing them because we can’t let this happen again. There are so few survivors left, so others will have to carry the torch to tell and tell, again and again. Ariana Neumann writes so eloquently of her father’s past, a hidden past too painful for him to relive, to talk about, but eventually revealed. She writes of her family, many of whom perished at the hands of the Nazis and of those who survived. She reminisces about how as a little girl growing up in Venezuela, she finds a photograph of her father in a box, an identity card with his picture and a stamp of Hitler. While this was the beginning of her awareness that her father had kept his past from her, it wasn’t until many years later when at his death, he leaves her a box of of letters and photos, that she realized that there was so much more to know . There was everything to know about her father and his family who suffered at the hand of the Nazis in their homeland in Czechoslovakia before he came to Venezuela. It was several years later that she was able to bring herself to have the letters translated and years before she could bring herself to read them the memoir he had begun writing . She generously shares them with us. She begins her journey to that past, reaching out to cousins and family friends, piecing together what they knew, tracing the lives of her grandparents in Terezin (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/There...), piecing together her father’s story. Neumann travels to the places where her father did, looking for remnants of her grandparents lives, for the man who helped save her father. It’s gut wrenching as all Holocaust stories are, but it’s filled with love for her father, filled with the love within the family she never knew. In her heartfelt dedication, Ariana Neumann says “This book is dedicated to the memory of those who could not tell their stories. “ We must keep reading the stories that others tell of them. This is one of those books. I received an advanced copy of this book from Scribner through NetGalley and Edelweiss.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Beata

    The search to discover the past that was never fully mentioned makes this memoir an interesting read. I guess this was the first time I had read about the Jews in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and I admit there were some issues which I found rather surprising when compared with the plight of the Jews in occupied Poland. This was not my first read on the Holocaust, however, it was not that shocking or compelling in comparison with other books. Ms Neumann's love for her father and family The search to discover the past that was never fully mentioned makes this memoir an interesting read. I guess this was the first time I had read about the Jews in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and I admit there were some issues which I found rather surprising when compared with the plight of the Jews in occupied Poland. This was not my first read on the Holocaust, however, it was not that shocking or compelling in comparison with other books. Ms Neumann's love for her father and family is obvious and she is happy and lucky to have found descendants after years of thorough search. Her perseverance to find out what her family went through is admirable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Adriana Neumann has written the amazing history of her father Hans Neumann and what his family endured during WWll. Ariana grew up in Venezuela daughter of Hans, a wealthy industrialist, and didn’t even know about her fathers history. When her father died, she was left a box with all sorts of documents and a picture I.D. of her father, that had a little picture of Hitler on it below his. From here, she did all the investigating to find out her fathers history.. unbelievable!! Hans and his family Adriana Neumann has written the amazing history of her father Hans Neumann and what his family endured during WWll. Ariana grew up in Venezuela daughter of Hans, a wealthy industrialist, and didn’t even know about her fathers history. When her father died, she was left a box with all sorts of documents and a picture I.D. of her father, that had a little picture of Hitler on it below his. From here, she did all the investigating to find out her fathers history.. unbelievable!! Hans and his family were Jews living in Czechoslovakia, they had their own paint company, a country home, were doing well until the Nazi’s took over. This is so different from other stories as we see the lengths the people had to go through to keep out of sight of the Nazi’s .. what a story! Thank you to my Goodreads friend Tammy for bringing this book to my attention! Thank you to Scribner through Netgalley for this ARC Here is a little video by Ariana https://youtu.be/IKdmasdnpvE

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “This book is dedicated to the memory of those who could not tell their stories” THANK YOU, *TAMMY*.... for making sure I didn’t miss this book! Adriana Neumann grew up in Venezuela. This book is a tribute to her father, Hans Neumann. Part literary family memoir... part mystery detective tale.... ....a search for answers and the truth: a daughters profound love for her father!!! What Hans experienced during the war was horrendous and monstrous. He could never speak about it. It was only after Hans d “This book is dedicated to the memory of those who could not tell their stories” THANK YOU, *TAMMY*.... for making sure I didn’t miss this book! Adriana Neumann grew up in Venezuela. This book is a tribute to her father, Hans Neumann. Part literary family memoir... part mystery detective tale.... ....a search for answers and the truth: a daughters profound love for her father!!! What Hans experienced during the war was horrendous and monstrous. He could never speak about it. It was only after Hans died, that he left a box of letters diary entries, photos and beautiful memorabilia, (photos of an old watch gave me chills... along with other wonderful photos), for Adriana.... which sent Adriana on a worldwide search to uncover her father’s story...spanning nearly ninety years. Hans was a brilliant man - highly respected in his community. He built an industrial empire in Venezuela. He had a passion for art. Hans compulsively collected watches, books, clocks, medieval objects, paintings, and sculptures....and had an obsession with timekeeping and punctuality. He owned 297 pocket watches. I found Hans to be a fascinating man - handsome -loyal to his family - driven - smart as a whip- And this was even ‘before’ we learn about his ( wonderful) daughter, Ariana, who uncovers the family secrets from the past. In Hans later years before his death, he suffered a massive stroke, which left him wheelchair bound. It was really inspiring to learn how he kept active. His physical limitations didn’t stop him from his exercise regime. He was up early swimming laps aided with a float, and traipsed up and down the corridor with a walking frame three times a day. HANS LIVED FULLY - after the war up to the day he died but he didn’t burden his family one iota about the horrors he endured during the Holocaust. After suffering a series of more strokes that left his legs paralyzed completely...he eventually succumbed to his death. Ariana’s father was cremated September 11, 2001. Shortly after Hans died, Ariana gave birth to her first child. A boy. She and her husband were living in London at the time of her father’s death. Adriana shared about her childhood- growing up in Caracas, Venezuela in the 1970’s, and 80’s. Her neighborhood in Venezuela sounded like an oasis with a wonderful garden that had dozens of different palms, mangos, guava, acacia, and eucalyptus trees... and bushes covered with orchards. Adriana said; “The country that I grew up in was filled with promise. There were serious problems— social disparity, corruption, and poverty— but there was also a sense that such issues were being addressed. Social and educational programs were being implemented; government housing, schools, and hospitals were being built”. Venezuela in the 1970s and 80s had a stable democracy, a rising literacy rate, and a flourishing art scene. Migrants where are attracted by the quality of life and the relative safety, climate, and business opportunities. Hans and his older brother, Lotar, migrated to Venezuela because their country had been broken by war. The brothers started a paint factory together that proved to be prosperous. It was fun to read a little bit about the type of girl Adriana was as a child. She wanted to solve mysteries… She knew very young she wanted to be a detective or better yet a spy. As a child she started a spy club with her cousins. Little did Adriana know at the time that she would carry her detective talents into her adult life — associated with her own father. The storytelling - page after page - was engaging- moving and intimate- which became grippingly riveting as Adriana uncovered information- going through his papers, notes, letters, and all those things her father quietly saved - his collections - after his death. So much she didn’t know about his past. While growing up in Ariana’s family, they were allowed to freely discuss politics, religion, sex, drugs, her parents marriage, divorce…any topic except her father’s past. Hans past was a taboo topic. It was clear that for Hans to talk about his parents, or his life growing up in Czechoslovakia, was too painful for him. Growing up, all Ariana knew about her grandparents was that they Czech....who never made it to Venezuela.... and had owned a dull gold watch. I don’t want to spoil the next 90% of this book.... Trust me... READ IT....it’s an AMAZING journey. Ariana’s father ‘did’ leave her clues. He even left a puzzle for her in his box. If that wasn’t symbolic, I don’t know what is! “My father left the world of which he seldom spoke as a riddle for me to unlock, the answers perhaps being the key to his complex and hermetic personality”. Once Ariana begins her inquiries, and locating people, attempting to assemble a family tree.... I thought of the Russian Nesting doll....( another, another, another clue to discover) Ariana discovers more than she ever expected. I was sooo engrossed in this story ... I simply did not know what Ariana was going to uncover. Fascinating story!!! “Traumatized people often construct defense mechanisms strong enough to deter those closest to them”. “Interspersed amid the horrors were wisps of beauty and love”.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    This is a marvelously well written memoir of Neumann’s father. Hans was a Venezuelan industrialist of Czech descent, understandably scarred by his experiences during WWII which he refused to speak of. After his death he left his daughter a box of photographs and papers about his life in Berlin during WWII as a Jew hiding under the noses of the Nazis. Piecing together her unknown family members’ experiences (and worse) during the holocaust was a courageous, over decades long undertaking and is as This is a marvelously well written memoir of Neumann’s father. Hans was a Venezuelan industrialist of Czech descent, understandably scarred by his experiences during WWII which he refused to speak of. After his death he left his daughter a box of photographs and papers about his life in Berlin during WWII as a Jew hiding under the noses of the Nazis. Piecing together her unknown family members’ experiences (and worse) during the holocaust was a courageous, over decades long undertaking and is as generous and big-hearted as it is filled with stories of secrets, savagery, and despair. Neumann allows us to become acquainted with her family and to know what they suffered as she unearths their lives. Put aside your historical fiction for the moment and read instead a polished, factual account of a family nearly obliterated by the holocaust.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    ****4.5 Stars rounded up**** "I just work and work so much all the time. It's the only way I have of trying to forget how many did not come back, how few of us left behind." --- Hans Neumann This note was written by the author’s father and discovered after his death (at 80) in 2001. He left Ariana a box containing a trove of documents and photographs that revealed a mysterious past which up until then was hidden from his daughter. With incredible tenacity, Ariana Neumann began the painstaking resea ****4.5 Stars rounded up**** "I just work and work so much all the time. It's the only way I have of trying to forget how many did not come back, how few of us left behind." --- Hans Neumann This note was written by the author’s father and discovered after his death (at 80) in 2001. He left Ariana a box containing a trove of documents and photographs that revealed a mysterious past which up until then was hidden from his daughter. With incredible tenacity, Ariana Neumann began the painstaking research to piece together her family’s lost, Jewish-Czech history and her father’s incredible story of surviving the Holocaust. Reconstructing her father’s past led to similar boxes of information contributed by newly discovered living relatives. This is an extraordinary story of endurance and survival as a Jew from Czechoslovakia when the Nazi Party controlled his country, then transformed as a dictatorship. Twenty-nine members of his family were taken to concentration camps. Only four returned. I highly recommend this fascinating Holocaust memoir...a chilling and cautionary historical account of the rise of fascism.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    "I spent my childhood willing a mystery to come my way. When it finally did, it took decades to solve." I am in awe of this woman's extraordinary tenacity as she researched the history of her father's early life before and during World War II. She grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, where her father had resettled after the war. He never spoke of his life as a Czech Jew, and what he and his family had to endure in the 1930s and 1940s. When Ariana was a girl, she found a mysterious identity card with a "I spent my childhood willing a mystery to come my way. When it finally did, it took decades to solve." I am in awe of this woman's extraordinary tenacity as she researched the history of her father's early life before and during World War II. She grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, where her father had resettled after the war. He never spoke of his life as a Czech Jew, and what he and his family had to endure in the 1930s and 1940s. When Ariana was a girl, she found a mysterious identity card with a picture of her father as a young man, but with a different name. When she asked about it, she was shushed and told not to talk about it. Her father had chosen to bury his painful past and dwell only in the present. When her father died, he left Ariana a box full of letters, documents, photographs, and keepsakes. It was sort of like a treasure hunt in reverse. She already had the treasures, but she had to do countless hours of research and travel to piece together what all the items meant and re-create her father's life history. Her father wanted her to know what he had been through, but not until after he was gone. She includes photographs of the items in the box, which I found really helps to bring the story and the people to life. In recent years I have just sort of naturally drifted away from reading novels about World War II and started reading more non-fiction accounts. While I do still enjoy the occasional novel on the subject, I have found the true stories to be far more varied and compelling overall. This book is another story of the astonishing courage and ingenuity of so many people who took unimaginable risks to keep themselves and their loved ones alive.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    This was such a poignant moving tale and a daughter's gift in writing to an adored father and his family and friends. Ariana Neumann knew her father had secrets. He was a quiet introspective man very fascinated with the concept of time. However, never did she realize growing up in Venezuela, that her father and his family had lived through the worst of times. Being Jewish during the rise of the Nazis was a nightmare and a step into hell on earth. Living in Czechoslovakia, and experiencing the fi This was such a poignant moving tale and a daughter's gift in writing to an adored father and his family and friends. Ariana Neumann knew her father had secrets. He was a quiet introspective man very fascinated with the concept of time. However, never did she realize growing up in Venezuela, that her father and his family had lived through the worst of times. Being Jewish during the rise of the Nazis was a nightmare and a step into hell on earth. Living in Czechoslovakia, and experiencing the first arrest of many of one of their family members for the crime of bathing in a forbidden river, the family comes to realize the very death hold that the Nazis have on the lives of the Jews. As time moved on, thirty-four Neumann family members were taken and twenty-five of them were exterminated by the Nazis. A family is decimated, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins gone wiped out, lives lost, hearts broken, and nightmares lived over and over again. Ariana's future father, Hans, lived under the constant threat of being arrested. However, instead of running away from the Nazi strongholds, he went to Berlin, hid right under the Gestapo's noses, and survived. However, the memories were horrible and Hans never could bring himself to reveal to his beloved daughter what had transpired. She knew there was something awful, something that caused such grief in her father that he often retreated into the world of clocks, time pieces, and work. He built a highly successful business in Venezuela, and when he died he left Ariana a box filled with memorabilia. Ten years later, Ariana embarked upon a journey to learn about her father, his family, and what the contents of that box meant. This memoir is a result of that journey. Told with elegant prose, Ariana takes the reader on her journey to find and understand her father, learning along the way the meaning of family and the hell that her ancestors experienced. This memoir is tragic but comes highly recommended to those who read, understand, and weep with the massacre that occurred all those years ago. Thank you to Ariana Neumann, Scribner Publishing, and NetGalley for a copy of this tragic yet inspiring book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul Lockman

    Ariana Neumann has written a thoroughly engaging book about her father’s experiences in WWII, firstly as Hans Neumann in Czechoslovakia then when he escaped to Berlin to work as a chemist under the false name Jan Sebesta. It was either escape or be deported to the camps. She also weaves in lots of other colourful characters in the Neumann family and life in Venezuela where Hans emigrated after the war. I thought it was a shame that Hans wasn’t prepared to talk about the war much while he was ali Ariana Neumann has written a thoroughly engaging book about her father’s experiences in WWII, firstly as Hans Neumann in Czechoslovakia then when he escaped to Berlin to work as a chemist under the false name Jan Sebesta. It was either escape or be deported to the camps. She also weaves in lots of other colourful characters in the Neumann family and life in Venezuela where Hans emigrated after the war. I thought it was a shame that Hans wasn’t prepared to talk about the war much while he was alive. This is understandable and fairly common amongst survivors but Hans led such an interesting life, if only he could have shared his story while he was alive. Ariana gained the occasional glimpse and insight that her father had a difficult time and had experienced grief and loss but Hans pretty much refused to discuss it. On his passing he did leave Ariana some valuable documents, photos and letters which she interpreted as his OK to do some digging around and look into his former life during WWII. With tenacity and some excellent detective work, Ariana tracked down a lot of Hans’ relatives and descendants who were very generous with their time and whatever possessions they had and the final result is this great tribute to her father. The letters he wrote during the German occupation and when he worked in Berlin are so raw and bring that dark time to life so vividly.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Craig Fehrman

    I got to spend some time on the road with Ariana when we were both promoting our books. She's a brilliant and elegant person, and she's written a brilliant and elegant book. I don't want to spoil too much, but the real-life underpinnings for her memoir are incredible. There are mysteries and twists and heart-breaking realities that surpass anything most of us could make up. But what makes this book so special is that Ariana takes that raw material and elevates it with her lyrical writing and car I got to spend some time on the road with Ariana when we were both promoting our books. She's a brilliant and elegant person, and she's written a brilliant and elegant book. I don't want to spoil too much, but the real-life underpinnings for her memoir are incredible. There are mysteries and twists and heart-breaking realities that surpass anything most of us could make up. But what makes this book so special is that Ariana takes that raw material and elevates it with her lyrical writing and careful observations. (She also does a great job weaving in the bigger historical contexts.) If you want to know more about World War II, the Holocaust, how to solve family secrets, or just how to be a family, this is a terrific read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    Speaking of books that make me say wow, When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann is an amazing look into the life of her family during World War II. I laughed, I teared up, and I learned a lot about the Neumann’s and what it was like during the war. I was incredibly impressed by When Time Stopped. Neumann's writing is exquisite, and I can tell that so much research went into this book. I listened to the audio, but I also purchased and read the physical boo Speaking of books that make me say wow, When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann is an amazing look into the life of her family during World War II. I laughed, I teared up, and I learned a lot about the Neumann’s and what it was like during the war. I was incredibly impressed by When Time Stopped. Neumann's writing is exquisite, and I can tell that so much research went into this book. I listened to the audio, but I also purchased and read the physical book as well which I find necessary to get the full experience. The story she tells is aided by many photos, letters, and other various photocopies of things that she found on her journey to get her father's story during the war, and it really enhanced my entire reading journey. The audio itself was excellent as well and the narrator, Rebecca Lowman, did an amazing job. I loved her voice and inflections, and it could have been the author reading her own book from the way it came to life for me. There is so much courage in When Time Stopped and I'm so happy that Neumann shared her journey with us. Her dad was an incredible man and this book will tell you so much about life during the war. Her dad may not have been in a camp, but we also get a sense of what went on there thanks to the many stories and letters she shares throughout the book. If you are looking for a memoir or even just a nonfiction book that talks about WWII I highly recommend When Time Stopped. It was so informative and perfectly written, and the audio was exceptional too. It may be about one family, but there is also so much more. If Neumann chooses to write anything else I am definitely here for it, and I already have another book to add to my top 10 for this year thanks to reading this! Thank you to Ariana Neumann for sharing your father's story along with so many others. Thank you to Libro.fm and the publisher for my advance listening copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    Memoirs are always hard to review since you’re not evaluating character development, pacing, etc. So, I’ll focus on the writing and the overall picture Ariana Neumann is painting. When Time Stopped is Ariana Neumann’s research into her father’s past after finding a box of documents that once belonged to him. After combing through the documents and talking to family members she didn’t know were related to her, When Time Stopped paints the picture of a Jewish family doing everything in their power Memoirs are always hard to review since you’re not evaluating character development, pacing, etc. So, I’ll focus on the writing and the overall picture Ariana Neumann is painting. When Time Stopped is Ariana Neumann’s research into her father’s past after finding a box of documents that once belonged to him. After combing through the documents and talking to family members she didn’t know were related to her, When Time Stopped paints the picture of a Jewish family doing everything in their power to save themselves from the atrocities of the Second World War. I thought When Time Stopped would focus almost solely on Hans Neumann, her father, instead it focuses on his family in general and the bleak picture of Europe leading up to and during World War Two. Sometimes Ariana Neumann paints too broad of a picture and gets lost in the details of names and locations making it difficult to follow at times. I had to refer to the family tree at the beginning of the novel multiple times since the Neumann family is a big one. At around the halfway mark of the novel, Neumann introduces large passages of a memoir her father had started writing before he passed. These are easily the best parts of the memoir. Hans Neumann’s writing rings as authentic in its details of life during the Second World War and his emotional state. It’s truly inspiring and humbling reading his story from his own words. Had he finished his own memoir, I would I have likened it to Night by Elie Wiesel. When Time Stopped is an engaging historical account of World War Two as told through the eyes of a Jewish family doing everything possible to survive. Their incredible strength and resilience will stay with me forever. Through the inclusion of photos and documents, the Neumann family history is brought to light. ***I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kit

    An incredible memoir. The way her memories of her father, and the way that the story of her family during the Holocaust was seamlessly blended was astounding. I saw a review that says that this wasn't shocking and brutal enough for a Holocaust memoir, and I honestly don't understand. Did we read the same book? Are you really so fatigued that only the cruellest of gratuitous, gruesome tortures are bad enough? It's baffling.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Rose

    I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it. When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann is both a puzzle to be solved filled with family secrets from the past and a memoir that acts as a testament to the love of family. Growing up Ariana didn't know anything about her father's past, but once he passes on she finds a box he left for her filled with documents with a picture of her father under another name and I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it. When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann is both a puzzle to be solved filled with family secrets from the past and a memoir that acts as a testament to the love of family. Growing up Ariana didn't know anything about her father's past, but once he passes on she finds a box he left for her filled with documents with a picture of her father under another name and a stamp of one of the most evil men in the world's history, Hitler. This is a memoir of how she pieces together the past of her Czechoslovakian Jewidh father and his family. She tracks down distant relarives and asks them questions sometimes finding more questions than answers. This is a wonderful memoir and I loved the mystery to it all. It was like a novel, but it's true.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Belisle

    This book is beautiful, intimate, breathtaking and heart breaking. It reads like a novel and yet gives a better sense of what was happening to Jewish families during the Holocaust than any history book I've read. I feel so invested in the Neumann family and their friends, as if I know them personally. More than anything, my takeaway from this book is the love and hope that was so clearly poured into it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Raisa

    Outstanding. I really enjoy the honesty, clarity, and journey itself that Ariana Neumann takes readers on in her novel. In these pages you will find heartbreak, confusion, growth, and so much love. Reading about the Holocaust comes on many styles, and in this novel you will experience the raw, undiluted story of one family, and the things taken from them, over decades of time. I would like to thank Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my unbiased and honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jazzy Lemon

    A true story in which Neumann discovers her father's secrets of the war, and is united with his younger self as well as her extended family.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    If I lived in the Czech Republic, my name would be Zuzana Škývarová. While I'm actually English/Irish, I fell in love with my husband, Zdeněk, and, after getting married in Prague, I have happily adopted some of his Czech traditions and culture. I've learned to make excellent bramborový salát (potato salad) and rohlíčky (sugar cookies). And I love spending time with my large extended Czech family on our biannual visits to Europe. All of which makes it far, far too easy to experience this book no If I lived in the Czech Republic, my name would be Zuzana Škývarová. While I'm actually English/Irish, I fell in love with my husband, Zdeněk, and, after getting married in Prague, I have happily adopted some of his Czech traditions and culture. I've learned to make excellent bramborový salát (potato salad) and rohlíčky (sugar cookies). And I love spending time with my large extended Czech family on our biannual visits to Europe. All of which makes it far, far too easy to experience this book not just as an incredible story but as something that feels a whole lot more personal. Ariana Neumann was always a curious child, eager for a mystery to solve. With her memoir, she shares what is a haunting yet beautiful love letter to her father, who kept the biggest mystery of all from her. How, as a young Jewish man in Nazi-occupied Prague, Czechoslovakia, he decided the only way to evade being sent to a concentration camp was to go and work in Berlin. Stop for a second and think about that. Several of your loved ones have already been taken. You can feel the net tightening on you and know you'll be next. And you see a crazy chance to take on a new identity (which is grounds for being executed on the spot), but it means you'll head straight into the belly of the beast. Who would have the guts (driven by desperation) to do that? Neumann's father, Hans, who successfully tricked the Nazis to survive. Hans, who lived to tell the tale, but couldn't bring himself to speak of it. "When Time Stopped" is hard to categorize. It fits in between the World War II stories (both fictional and real life) that many of us love to read, inspired by the bravery while secretly questioning "Would I be strong enough to do the same?" and the Maus series by Art Spiegelman sharing his father's story of survival. This is a book with two layers: what happened to Hans and his family, and the detective story of Arianna uncovering the mystery over a decade-long search. There are so many heartbreaking moments in this book, but the one that just keeps coming back to me is Hans relieving the moment when he had to say goodbye to his father. The depth of his pain and the horror of the terror Hans lived under for so many years meant that he could not bear to talk about this period in his life, though he often screamed out in nightmares. We usually focus on the years of terror in our book reading, but "When Time Stopped" forces us to better understand how this must have impacted the survivors for decades. This would be an excellent book club selection, allowing you to explore how quickly freedom can be lost in a society, the extraordinary courage of women trying to protect their families, and relationships between fathers and daughters. Thank you to Nan Graham at Scribner and Ariana Neumann for sharing this ARC with me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    I adore family mysteries and investigative stories in search of family history. Neumann's book hit the mark. As a girl, growing up in Venezuela, the author was fascinated with her father's watch collection and his obsession with time. She knew next to nothing about his past until after his death. She painstakingly pieced together his story but also his extended family's incredible story, scouring the globe for kernels of knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, enhanced by the documents and pi I adore family mysteries and investigative stories in search of family history. Neumann's book hit the mark. As a girl, growing up in Venezuela, the author was fascinated with her father's watch collection and his obsession with time. She knew next to nothing about his past until after his death. She painstakingly pieced together his story but also his extended family's incredible story, scouring the globe for kernels of knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, enhanced by the documents and pictures. It's a valuable contribution to the expanding bibliography of Holocaust survivors and their descendants. Thanks to Edelweiss, NetGalley and the publisher for the awesome early read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marcia Biggs

    I received the advance copy and read it in 2 days. I couldn’t put it down! What an incredible story, not only of one man’s survival of the Holocaust, but also of the journey his daughter takes to piece together his story without him and to come to terms with the revelations she uncovers. Meticulously researched, the details she unearths give the story the richness and texture of a novel. At times devastatingly painful and at other times full of light, beauty, and hope, it was an entrancing read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    David V.

    Received as an ARC from the publisher. Started 10-13-19. Finished 10-17-19. Excellent memoir of a young Venezuelan woman's search for her father's history of living through WWII in his homeland of Czechoslovakia and through terrors in Germany. Starting with a box of documents, letters and photos, she begins her research into her family's past and discovers the loss and gain of family members. She learns the details of dozens of her relatives, most she didn't know existed. Perseverance kept many Received as an ARC from the publisher. Started 10-13-19. Finished 10-17-19. Excellent memoir of a young Venezuelan woman's search for her father's history of living through WWII in his homeland of Czechoslovakia and through terrors in Germany. Starting with a box of documents, letters and photos, she begins her research into her family's past and discovers the loss and gain of family members. She learns the details of dozens of her relatives, most she didn't know existed. Perseverance kept many of these people alive so that today their descendants live all over the world.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I found the first third of the book slow, and I thought about abandoning it. I'm glad I didn't, because the rest was fascinating. The author's father survived WWII and avoided deportation to a concentration camp by hiding in plain sight under a false identity in Berlin. Though he never spoke about his experiences while alive, he left his daughter a box of documents after his death, knowing she would piece together his story. The result is a book that is part historical record, part loving tribut I found the first third of the book slow, and I thought about abandoning it. I'm glad I didn't, because the rest was fascinating. The author's father survived WWII and avoided deportation to a concentration camp by hiding in plain sight under a false identity in Berlin. Though he never spoke about his experiences while alive, he left his daughter a box of documents after his death, knowing she would piece together his story. The result is a book that is part historical record, part loving tribute to her father, told with both honesty and compassion.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lorri

    War, Holocaust, Jews, identity, assimilation, love, missing links, family secrets, and so much more, fill the pages of 'When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains'. Neumann takes the reader on a journey to uncover the mysteries regarding her father's background, and events that were too painful for him to articulate. The memoir was not a fast read for me, but the content was well written, with excellent details, documents, photographs, and history.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emma Bleasdale

    One of the most thought provoking memoirs I've ever read, written with descriptive detail of an immensely talented new author. I am looking forward to reading all Ariana Neumann has to write.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cosima Carter

    A brilliant memoir. Ariana Neumann's journey to discover her father's history is both a breathtaking tale of intrigue and a devastating memoir of a family decimated by the Nazi regime. A fascinating book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Gardner-Jones

    “When Time Stopped” Ariana Neumann's powerful memoir about her father’s life in Prague and Berlin during World War II was written against formidable odds. The greatest obstacle was that Hans Neumann’s early life had always been a complete enigma to his daughter. It was understood from an early age that his past was not to be discussed. On his death, however, Hans left his daughter a box filled with documents and photographs that would completely change her perception of both his life and hers. Ar “When Time Stopped” Ariana Neumann's powerful memoir about her father’s life in Prague and Berlin during World War II was written against formidable odds. The greatest obstacle was that Hans Neumann’s early life had always been a complete enigma to his daughter. It was understood from an early age that his past was not to be discussed. On his death, however, Hans left his daughter a box filled with documents and photographs that would completely change her perception of both his life and hers. Ariana Neumann childhood in Venezuela’s capital city of Caracas was idyllic. Her father, a brilliant and successful industrialist, was married to Maria Cristina Anzola who was twenty years his junior. In 1971, as Hans turned fifty, the couple welcomed a daughter. Ariana describes her father as kind but distant. Aside from his professional work, he had an obsession with watches, time, and punctuality. He was often sequestered in his study where he tinkered with his collection of approximately 300 clocks and pocket watches. Ariana quickly learned not to interrupt his concentration as he repaired, cleaned or set each piece. She also knew not to ask about his childhood, his parents or his reccurring nightmares. At eight, Ariana creates a Detectives Club. The young sleuths spend their time poking around the Neumann’s home looking for unusual clues. When one of the young sleuths reports that he has seen her father walking into his private study with a curious box, Ariana is interested. Clandestinely she locates the box and discovers among a stack of dusty papers a puzzling identity card. She sees that it is clearly a photo of her father as a young man but cannot understand why the name and birthdate on the document are incorrect. She is also startled to see the document has the official stamps of Germany including one of Adolph Hitler and another of a swastika. Afraid to ask her father, she turns to her mother who cannot or will not shed any light on it. This is the very box Ariana inherits years later upon her father’s death. Now an adult, married and living in London with her family, she knows that with the box comes permission to discover her father’s past. Real sleuthing begins. It is an arduous process. Like her father, she is driven and focused. She searches for clues within the documents - which include journal entries, letters, photographs and random documents. From each she extracts possible contacts and follows leads in Venezuela, Europe and the United States. Over the years she discovers family previously unknown to her. She learns that her paternal grandparents Otto and Ella Neumann lived in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She learns that her Uncle Lotar and father Hans had a large extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins - thirty-four in all. And she also discovers that twenty-five of them were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. This is stunning new information. Raised a Catholic in Venezuela, she had absolutely no idea that her father’s side of the family was large, Jewish and had suffered misery and death during the Holocaust. As additional boxes from newly found cousins begin arriving Ariana finds additional leads that help her complete the story. There are descriptors of the Nazis arriving in Czechoslovakia, the anguish over the implementation of the endless laws forbidding Jews to work, walk, swim, go to school, visit a park and so on. There is physical evidence of the coarse yellow stars to be sewn onto clothing. And as transports loom and the urgency to find a non-Jew who is willing to help and assist in anyway possible. Ariana Neumann expertly draws readers into the unfolding drama that is her father’s life. The memoir include copies of the actual photos and legal documents that Hans provided within the box. She seamlessly includes letters and journal entries throughout the memoir adding to the elegant and riveting flow. Readers travel with her all the way to the story's conclusion. It’s a non-fiction thriller. While “When Time Stopped” is a story of family, courage, fear and fearlessness, sorrow, hope, inhumanity and humanity. It is also a cautionary tale about the violence born through abusive and corrupt power. It is damning look at herd mentality and the allure of elevating one people over “the other.” And surely it is a sobering look at the consequences. In a journal entry found within Hans's box, we hear the voice of family patriarch Otto Neumann, “If you want to be truly just in this life, when you see people who are weak, you must stand with them. Because you are strong, and it is the weak who need you more, not the strong.” I cannot adequately express how moved I was by this book. When I came to the final pages, I had to just get up and walk away. I felt this profound sense of sadness as well as a great admiration and tenderness for Ariana Neumann. Many believe - 75 years after VE Day — that we have by now heard the essential elements of every Holocaust story. “When Time Stopped” convinces me that this is not true. Surely by reading these stories we are reminded that this violent inhumanity and destruction can happen again. “When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War And What Remains” Ariana Neumann. New release by Scribner, 321 pages.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    3.5 Stars. Powerful and moving memoir. The author did an incredible job finding long lost relatives and family friends as well as documents to discover her family’s history of loss and love especially given the language barriers and time (as well as secrets) passed. But, this was truly a love letter to her father and his family, whose stories had been erased by evil but will soon be told to the world. I received an arc from the publisher but all opinions are my own. I’m hoping the finished copy 3.5 Stars. Powerful and moving memoir. The author did an incredible job finding long lost relatives and family friends as well as documents to discover her family’s history of loss and love especially given the language barriers and time (as well as secrets) passed. But, this was truly a love letter to her father and his family, whose stories had been erased by evil but will soon be told to the world. I received an arc from the publisher but all opinions are my own. I’m hoping the finished copy will have a more elaborate family tree bc the beginning of the book was a bit muddled for me. I would try and figure out which relative she was corresponding with but the tree is mostly her father’s generation or above.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mama Cass

    As powerful as The Boy in Striped Pajamas, this unforgettable memoir is a must read. Neumann's writing is touching and heartbreaking and I shed more than a few tears. May we never forget those innocent lives lost in the name of bigotry, racism, ignorance and hate.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    A daughter with an instinct for investigation uncovers her father’s past in WHEN TIME STOPPED, a moving saga of war and the Holocaust. Ariana Neumann was a lucky child, growing up in Venezuela, the daughter of an ingenious, entrepreneurial father whose professional life brought prosperity. Yet his private life remained mysterious. The girl’s mother often cautioned her not to ask Hans about his troubled past, and to ignore his sometimes somber, even fearful demeanor. The first real clue, discovere A daughter with an instinct for investigation uncovers her father’s past in WHEN TIME STOPPED, a moving saga of war and the Holocaust. Ariana Neumann was a lucky child, growing up in Venezuela, the daughter of an ingenious, entrepreneurial father whose professional life brought prosperity. Yet his private life remained mysterious. The girl’s mother often cautioned her not to ask Hans about his troubled past, and to ignore his sometimes somber, even fearful demeanor. The first real clue, discovered by a child so interested in detective work that she formed her own spy club, came when she dared to open a cardboard box, finding there a passport with her father’s photo --- but with a different name and a different birthday. Later, as a young woman, Ariana visited a synagogue in Prague where she saw her father’s name written on the wall with many others. His birth year was there, yet there was no record of his death --- indeed, at the time, he was alive and working in Caracas --- but she had never heard mention of any Jewish connection. After his death, the cardboard box was finally opened, and gradually Ariana, by then an established journalist, began to examine every scrap of paper, find translators to aid in the fact-seeking process, and learn, bit by bit, the story of Hans and his harrowing war years in his native Czechoslovakia and in Germany. Ariana unfolds an almost daily account, some of it drawn from her father’s own writings, of what he, his parents and his brother suffered with the rise of the Third Reich. Slowly, small regulations such as where Jews could live, go to school and even swim burgeoned into massive relocations. Hans’ mother was forced to work in the concentration camp at Terezin; many times, the family bolstered her circumstances but ultimately could not keep her and her husband from Auschwitz. As the war ground on, Hans and his brother Lotar, surviving because of their youth and talents in the chemical industry, lost 25 of their family of 34, murdered in Hitler’s “final solution.” Hans took a bold path, first hiding, then --- through the remarkable help of a friend --- assuming a non-Jewish identity and going to work in Berlin, the heart of the killing machine. After the war, Hans and Lotar emigrated to South America where they prospered by reestablishing their chemical business. Reading WHEN TIME STOPPED is painful, yet imbued with a sense of hope about the worst instincts of humanity challenged and overcome with small moments of insight, intelligence and incredible kindness. Family solidarity played a significant role in Hans’ survival and reinvention, and with her book, Ariana Neumann extends that solidarity to her own and future generations. Her efforts in reconstructing the exploits of her father, grandfather, uncle and cousins involved wide travel, determination and deep resolve. The record she brings to light is a unique portrait of the horrors of the Holocaust from the inside --- never to be forgotten as long as such accounts remain. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jade

    Ariana Neumann’s story is quite incredible! My own mother has been working on our family tree for years, and I know how many hours, days, years it takes, and how amazing it is to find lost family members, and fascinating it is to learn so much more about our heritage. When she was growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, Ariana’s father, Hans Neumann, kept a tight lid on his past. Ariana knew that he had grown up in the Czech Republic, and over the years he gave her a few peeks into his childhood, but Ariana Neumann’s story is quite incredible! My own mother has been working on our family tree for years, and I know how many hours, days, years it takes, and how amazing it is to find lost family members, and fascinating it is to learn so much more about our heritage. When she was growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, Ariana’s father, Hans Neumann, kept a tight lid on his past. Ariana knew that he had grown up in the Czech Republic, and over the years he gave her a few peeks into his childhood, but never enough for her to understand anything. When he died he left her a box of papers, most of which dated from WW2. With these few pieces of an enormous puzzle in her hands, Ariana started on a quest to find out the truth about her father’s past, and in return found a whole part of her family that until then had been hidden from her. When Time Stopped is Ariana Neumann’s story of how she managed to put together the story of her father’s childhood and early adulthood, and of how he managed to survive the war literally hidden in plain sight. But it isn’t just that, because during her quest Ariana also discovers her grandparents, who were both interned in Terezin, and then deported to Auschwitz where they perished. These stories are so important for us to read, even more so now as most people who lived through and survived WW2 and the atrocities that took place are now dead. We must carry these stories with us so that they do not become forgotten and/or whitewashed. I have personally visited Terezin, and felt the exact same as Ariana describes during her own visit. We must never forget. This book reads as a memoir, and also partly as a detective novel. I love how Ariana lets us discover information with her along the narrative, it makes the reader feel involved and invested in the story. What a wonderful, but also heartbreaking read. No one can fault Holocaust survivors for wanting to bury the past, which is why it is our job, those of us lucky enough to never have had to experience it, to keep passing the stories along. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy in return for an honest review of this book.

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