• When Time Stopped

  • A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains
  • By: Ariana Neumann
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (420 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

In this astonishing story that “reads like a thriller and is so, so timely” (BuzzFeed) Ariana Neumann dives into the secrets of her father’s past: “Like Anne Frank’s diary, it offers a story that needs to be told and heard.” (Booklist, starred review) 

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, 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. 

A “beautifully told story of personal discovery” (John le Carré), 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, and this “gripping, expertly researched narrative will inspire those looking to uncover their own family histories” (Publishers Weekly). 

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

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  • Overall
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yesterday as fresh as today

having listened to @ least 200 hours, I have delved deep into the WW II era from various vantage points – US homefront, European resistance, Communism/Socialism, & German Nazi atrocities.

this book is lovingly & beautifully written; it covers well over 100 years of multiple generations of the Neumann family in Europe, the US, & South America, with a focus on uncovering their Jewish roots in Czechoslavakia, & their resilience during the WWII era & beyond; the author has painstakingly researched every detail to weave a tapestry that brings alive relatives she never knew existed, much less met; what a treasure her resulting book is to her family around the world, & to that world who can now hear how she connected the dots

if interested, here is the list of books I have heard thus far in this category (some I more highly recommend than others, however they are all good) - No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Homefront in WWII by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Too Close to the Sun: Growing Up in the Shadow of My Grandparents, Franklin & Eleanor by Curtis Roosevelt, Wickwythe Hall by Judithe Little, The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen, The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester, Hearts of Resistance by Soraya M Lane, Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini, Joy: Poet, Seeker, & the Woman Who Captivated C S Lewis by Abigail Santamaria, The Minuteman by Greg Donahue, The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer, The Stone Crusher: The True Story of a Father & Son’s Fight for Survival in Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield, The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, The Pharmacist of Auschwitz by Patricia Posner, After Auschwitz by Eva Schloss, Ravensbruck: Life & Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women by Sarah Helm) (next up: The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory, A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins & the Missing Agents of WWII, The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory, Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson,

23 people found this helpful

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Extraordinary story about a great man

My grandfather was a very close friend of Hans Neumann, a hardworking man who without any means arrived to Venezuela and built an important company and helped so many in the arts and education. I always remember my grandfather speaking fondly of Hans. Working with him for so many years made them close. This book tells the story of a holocaust survivor and his bravery. In times like these when antisemitism, racism and xenophobia are on the rise we should promote these kinds of readings so we NEVER FORGET what the Jewish people went through, and that there’s no guarantee that it won’t happen again.

9 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written and so interesting

I heard about this book on Dani Shapiro's Family Secrets podcast, otherwise I doubt this would have crossed my radar despite how much I read about The Holocaust. Neumann's book, however, stands out as one of the best I have read because she tells her father's very unusual story of how he survives as a Czech Jew during WW2. Part of the story is her investigation, over the course of years, of his life before and during the war--during her father's lifetime, he says almost nothing. She doesn't even know he's Jewish, but he leaves Neaumann a box of papers upon his death, which is how she starts to unravel his story.

As for the audio narration...excellent, but I wish they had chosen a narrator with an English accent because the author has an English accent.

8 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Amazing story of the human spirit, survival and finding stories of family history. I want to hear the rest of his story.

4 people found this helpful

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Amazing story

Amazing, fascinating story. couldn't put it down. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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Outstanding

Beautiful, haunting. Thank you Ariana Neumann for crafting such a loving tribute to your very special father and his family.

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Amazing.

From start to finish, this book is amazing. I’ve read countless novels about WWII and this is officially at the top of my list. In her final statements, I found myself crying. It’s a beautiful story and tribute to her father and family.

4 people found this helpful

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  • JS
  • 02-26-20

Incredible storytelling- articulate and engaging!

I loved the pace and layout of this story and the research material. The author reveals the characters, events, and contexts in an artful and considered fashion, like an artist painting a picture. Piece by piece, a family’s real life drama comes into focus, and the unfolding is a truly unique experience.
Highly recommend!

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The author loves to write too much!

I found that I struggled with this book. I have to wonder if it was the author or the editor's fault. There were times when rather than just stating something, the author in the middle of the statement would go off on a tangent. It happened over and over.

3 people found this helpful

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An extraordinary story of a daughter’s love and discovery of her father.

WHEN TIME STOPPED is a beautifully written story of the Neumann family and their struggle to survive the Holocaust. Each member will find a special place in your heart as Ariana Neumann’s unravels their joys, the fears, their lives and their heartache as she learns about her family’s past while discovering the man her father truly was. A must read.

3 people found this helpful