When Time Stopped

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

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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It always feels like book magic when I pick up a book I’ve never heard of and wind up loving it SO much. That’s what happened with When Time Stopped. Shocking also because it’s a memoir and that’s not usually my jam. But listen to this crazy story: Arianna Neumann grew up in Caracas, the only daughter of a second marriage. When her father died, she had been living in Italy but flew home for the services and to clear out his things. His study, once crammed full of a lifetime of correspondence and papers, had been cleared out and all that remained was a single box. Inside, she found a German ID with her father’s picture and someone else’s name, along with a ton of other German documents.  Of course she started investigating and holy moly the story she uncovered! It’s a WWII story, obviously, but it reads like a novel. Her thorough research and her insane success in tracking down survivors who knew her father and grandparents….this story! It could be a movie. 5 stars! definitely on my Best Of list. On sale 2/4/2020.
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When Time Stopped
A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains

by Ariana Neumann
Scribner
Biographies & Memoirs
Pub Date 04 Feb 2020


I am reviewing a copy of When Time Stopped through Scribner and Netgalley:


In 1941, the first member of the Neumann family arrested in the German Occupied Czechoslovakia  was taken prisoner by the Nazis, his crime was bathing in a part of the river that the Jews were not allowed to use.  He was transported to Auschwitz and eighteen days later his prisoner number was entered into the Morgue book.



Twenty five of the thirty four members were murdered by the Nazis.  One of the survivors was Hans Neumann, who in order to escape the German death net, traveled to Berlin and hid in plain sight right under the eyes of the Gestapo.  Hans experienced things so unspeakable that even when he built his industrial empire in Venezuela he was unable to bring himself to talk about what he had witnessed.  The only thing his daughter Ariana knew was something horrible had happened.




After Hans died he left his daughter Ariana left a small box filled with letters, diary entries, and other memorabilia.  It took ten years before Ariana found the courage to have the letters translated and she began reading them.  The discoveries she made inside that small box 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 powerful story of survival and great loss during the Holocaust and it  is a reminder of how that horrific time affected families long after the Holocaust was over.


I give When Time Stopped five out of five stars!


Happy Reading!
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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 out of sight of the Nazi’s .. what a story!

Thank you to Scribner through https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3049149652?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 for this ARC 

Here is a little video by Ariana
https://youtu.be/IKdmasdnpvE
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Oh my. This book is just stunning. It is at once two true stories- the first, the story of a young girl who spends decades sleuthing a mystery, and the second, the amazing story of a Jewish family's love, commitment and perseverance though the second world war and Nazi occupation. 

The book begins by laying the groundwork of the author's childhood and her father as she knew him. It picks up considerably as the pieces of the mystery of her father's life are revealed- tiny piece by tiny piece. The journey of discovery that the author made is fascinating, surpassed only by the incredible true story of the lives of her father and his brother, their parents, and the courageous women and men who buoyed them through the perilous years with their love and support.

Highly recommend. 

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which I am always happy to give. This book was a pleasure to read, and I'm grateful to the author, publisher, and #NetGalley. #WhenTimeStopped
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Thank you NetGalley, Simon & Shuster and Ariana Neumann for an ARC of When Time Stopped in exchange for an honest review. It is hard for me to give feedback on this book. Any book written about the Holocaust and especially a memoir deserves praise. These stories MUST be told. The research that went into this memoir is fascinating and Ariana Neumann must feel so accomplished to finally find out what happened to her family. I found myself struggling to get through this book mainly because of all the names and people. I found my mind wandering and desperately trying to piece together who everyone was and how they were related. The author did do an excellent job in giving detailed descriptions making the reader feel as if they were living through the horrific events.  Thank you Ariana Neumann for telling your families story. It will now remain a part of history forever, and the more stories written the more difficult it will be for people to forget.
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“This book is dedicated to the memory of those who could not tell their stories”

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, 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”.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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