The Hidden Treasure of Jews in Austria

ArynFamily7 Comments

I love historical fiction. It opens up new experiences. For example, the Jews in Austria before World War II. Such a tough time in history, that was.

 

Normal everyday people got caught in the chaos of the war. On both sides.

 

The Jews were definitely targeted harder than most, as our enemy the devil has it out for God’s chosen people.

 

Hidden among the stars, a book about Jews in Austria before WWII

 

? I was given an Advance Readers (ARC) Copy and am excited to share it with you all opinions are my own. Please note that some links are affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of them, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. For more information please click here to read my full disclosure.

 

 

I have not studied much about Austria, aside from my mom’s favorite movie, The Sound of Music. (Yes, I realize that great liberties were taken, and it’s nothing like the true story, but it’s still fun!)

Her favorite part is when the two Sisters say:

“I have sinned, Reverend Mother” “I Too”

after sabotaging the Nazis cars in front of the convent.

 

While it does not talk about the Jews in Austria, the Sound of Music does give a small taste of life in Austria before WWII.

 

  • The fear
  • Shifting loyalty
  • Secrets
  • Etc

 

That’s one thing that I love about fiction. Fiction and museums bring history to life. But fiction is so accessible!

The History of the Jews in Austria Before WWII

In doing some research, I learned some cool things about the Jews in Austria before the War.

  • In the 1200s-1300s, they were wealthy and unpopular
  • This was not the first deportation of the Jewish Austrians. In the 1400s, they were expelled also!
  • It took a while, but by the late 1800s, the population and cultural impact of Jews in Austria was again significant. For example Felix Salten, Author of Bambin and Dr Sigmund Freud.

 

Celebrate Lit is a fantastic organization. Yet another book tour has arrived! This time it is Hidden Among the Stars. A fascinating story, about Jews in Austria before the War (WWII) with a contemporary quest of sorts mixed in.

About the Book

Book Title: Hidden Among The Stars

Author: Melanie Dobson

Genre: Historical Fiction (However, this is a time-slip novel, so there is also a contemporary component to the story)

Release Date: September 4, 2018

 

From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.

In the Past

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

In the Present

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

Hidden among the stars book review, contemporary bookstore and Jews in Austria

Hidden Among the Stars ~ Libraryan Thoughts

A well researched and beautifully written story of both the Gentiles and the Jews in Austria, Hidden Among the Stars gets 5 stars in my book.

 

While it is not exactly Time Travel, the time-slip in this book was fun! Getting pieces of both stories, these Austrians, both the ancestral Austrians and the Diaspora Jews in Austria, and Callie’s 21st Century story was great!

 

I really connected to Callie, the contemporary lead. I too feel safest tucked away with my books and when I get to share books I love with others. {in case you wondered why I blog} I think we share the same superpower. “Story Girl” is a title I could really get into!

 

And despite how she got here name, Callisandra is absolutely beautiful! Her courage made me want to be more courageous, and her book choices made my wishlist grow again!

Fathers

There are several fathers in this book, at least 3 of them make you mad, and 2 of them stand out as men of honor, who care for and take care of their families well. Even with impossible odds, Dr. Weiss did what he could. I admired him throughout his story. He was a remarkable man.

 

Part of the ending, I expected from about chapter 2-3, which is about when I was sucked in and couldn’t put the book down. But another part surprised me, and I was very impressed. I enjoyed being surprised!

 

The premise of Hidden Treasures belonging to the Jews in Austria who could not take their wealth with them when they were escaping was sweet and sad. How it was cared for, as well as how easy it might be for that knowledge to be lost was well written and believable.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone 16+ with the caution that

A) there is some forceful unwelcome attention that does result in pregnancy, and

B) this deals with the treatment of the Jews in Austria leading up to the war, so it will be uncomfortable. That said, the real history is uncomfortable, and we dare not forget or pretend that it wasn’t!

 

Melanie Dobson does a fantastic job of making it real without being graphic. I hope you will read it!

 

About the Author

Melanie-Dobson-Author-PhotoMelanie Dobson is the award-winning author of nearly twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels including Catching the Wind and Chateau of Secrets . Three of her novels have won Carol Awards; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010; and The Black Cloister won the Foreword Magazine Religious Fiction Book of the Year.

 

Melanie is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media Group. When she isn’t writing, Melanie enjoys teaching both writing and public relations classes at George Fox University.

 

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with work, the Dobson family has settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to hike and camp in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. Melanie also enjoys exploring ghost towns and abandoned homes, helping care for kids in her community, and reading stories with her girls.

 

Visit Melanie online here.

 

 

 

Guest Post from Melanie

Hallstatt’s Hiding Places

Backpacking across Europe—that’s how my husband Jon and I decided to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We savored the old world culture and charm as we hiked along Italy’s coast, toured medieval castles in Germany, and cruised the canals in Belgium; we both left a bit of our hearts in an ancient lakeside town called Hallstatt.

 

The moment we stepped off the ferryboat and into this storybook village, we crossed through a portal of sorts, traveling back several centuries in time. The rugged, snow-capped mountains around us and alpine lake, the quaint village with its church steeples and cobblestone lanes and waterfall that spilled into town—all of it captivated us.

Inspiration

Along the shore, hidden partially by trees, we could see spires of an abandoned castle, and I wanted to know its story. No one in Hallstatt could tell us who’d lived in the castle—at least, not in English—so my husband agreed to a new adventure. With a swan as our escort, we glided across the lake in an electric boat so I could study the rusty turrets, boarded windows, and wooden boathouse resting in the water like a felled log.

 

Instead of quelling my curiosity, the match of inspiration ignited my mind. Who had lived in this castle, and what happened there? I began writing in my journal that night, trying to capture my rogue thoughts on paper, hoping that one day a novel would emerge from the ashes of this castle’s story.

 

When we returned home, I began researching more of Hallstatt’s history and discovered that this region, in all of its beauty and mystique, had been infiltrated by an enemy in 1938. This town and the surrounding Salzkammergut became a mountain retreat for Nazi officials who built mansions on the shores of its many lakes and used salt mines to hide “ownerless treasure”—the gold bullion and artwork they’d stolen from the Jewish people.

 

The Nazis intended to build a Fourth Reich in this alpine fortress, but the Allies had other plans. Near the end of the war, these lakes became a dustbin of sorts, collecting whatever the enemy dumped into its waters—weapons, counterfeit banknotes, concentration camp lists—as they fled south from the Allied troops. The Devil’s Dustbin, locals call it.

 

Lake Hallstatt plunges more than four hundred feet between the fortress of mountains. Because of its depth and the many hiding places in the underwater forests, caves, and shifting sands, divers continue finding World War II artifacts today. Some still believe there’s a treasure trove buried on the bottom, but no one has reported finding any gold.

The Need to Write

After our trip, a story about this castle and what happened to the heirlooms of the Jews in Austria continued to burn inside me until I finally put it on paper. So I built Schloss Schwansee—Castle of Swan Lake—in my mind, inspired by the castle along Lake Hallstatt, and created a cast of historical and contemporary characters who are searching for lost treasure.

 

Hidden Among the Stars is a time-slip novel about a castle and treasure and fairytales, but most of all, it’s a story about God using ordinary people across Austria to resist evil in their own extraordinary way.

 

 

Blog Stops

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Melanie is giving away a grand prize package that includes a $25 Amazon gift card, Catching the Wind paperback, and Hidden Among the Stars paperback!!

 

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.

 

Hidden Among the Stars is a must read, a tale of Jews in Austria before WWII, of Honor and Sacrifice and Hidden Treasure. Also a contemporary Story Girl on a quest for truth

7 Comments on “The Hidden Treasure of Jews in Austria”

  1. wow this is a wonderful post. thank you for putting it together. i too loved the part about the two sisters going to reverend mother with the car. i love to read historical books and time slip books. this is on my to read list.

    1. That’s the best part! I’m glad you found a new book. I would love to see Hidden Among the Stars made into a Movie!

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