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Summary

In this remarkably moving memoir Ariana Neumann dives into the secrets of her father’s past: years spent hiding in plain sight in war-torn Berlin, the annihilation of dozens of family members in the Holocaust, and the courageous choice to build anew.

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 34 Neumann family members, 25 were murdered by the Nazis. One of the survivors was Hans Neumann, who, to escape the German death net, travelled 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 an enthralling detective story and an epic family memoir, spanning nearly 90 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.

©2020 Ariana Neumann (P)2020 Simon & Schuster UK

Critic reviews

"It’s not always a grim story. Alongside anger and despair there is love and hope. But the message is stark. This is the way bullies work. When Time Stopped is more than just history. It’s a warning." (Michael Palin)

What listeners say about When Time Stopped

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Phenomenal memoir, beautifully written and read

This is one of the most affecting memoirs I have ever read. Painstakingly put together over years, this family history is unforgettable. If you want to know the effects of Nazism on everyday life, this book sets it out in agonising detail. It's also about human connection and endurance. Can't recommend it highly enough (it's also a good companion to Philippe Sands' East West Street). Superby read by the narrator, too. A magnificent tribute to the author's family.

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A wonderful insight

Loved every minute of this It was so interesting and so informative. Great narrator too

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A most beautifully told story

This book tells the story of the careful and painstaking research of a daughter into her father’s early life story. Beautifully written and beautifully read.

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Fabulous

How this was so thoroughly and brilliant researched and written I will never know. It is utterly magnificent time.

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Strange one for me

I appreciate the different story point family member researching personal history through letters etc but lacked any personal touch didn't get to know characters very well hence l never felt invested in storyline