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Summary

Kraus Family Award Winner for Best Autobiography and Memoir at The National Jewish Book Awards

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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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 brilliant detective story.

Very moving account of a family's experience and suffering during WW2. Brilliantly written .

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A masterpiece that brings home the horror endured by an innocent extended family caught up in the Holocaust

The most eloquent book I have listened to on a family torn apart by the Holocaust. Beautifully read and totally shocking. I have never before had to stop so many times to collect myself, become distracted for a while and then recommence. It is the most gruelling journey but at the same time full of hope and unfathomable determination to get through the web created by the Nazis and sustained by so many even after the war. It gives the fullest picture of the terror and the horror endured by innocent people of all ages and should be read by all.

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A fascinating and heart breaking story

What an amazing story resulted from such extensive and meticulous research. It's so much more than just another Holocaust story, but one of ingenuity, hope and the spirit to survive. Sad, but uplifting. Some of the stories are stranger than fiction. Read convincingly by Rebecca Lowman.

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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