ABOUT THIS BOOK
Summoned from Vienna to Frankfurt to testify at the Auschwitz trials, Heiner meets Lena, who is working at the court as a translator. During the trial, he describes his experiences of being deported to Auschwitz as a young man. Afterward, the two begin a cautious love affair, but both are unsure whether their feelings will be strong enough to persevere in the shadow of his earlier ordeals. Heiner knows that if they are to stay together, Lena will have to accept the memories of Auschwitz that mark him and build a new life amid the debris of his past.
In this moving novel, Monika Held draws on first-hand reports by Auschwitz survivors to paint an emotive picture of life and love governed by trauma. Throughout, Heiner’s suffering is omnipresent, and Lena’s struggle to hold her own in a relationship dominated by his past is deeply moving. His stories are horrific and disturbing, but they are a part of his identity; he cannot survive without them. And slowly, Lena learns to cherish her own past despite its apparent insignificance.
With its sensitive treatment of two people struggling to confront the Holocaust’s atrocities from very different vantage points, This Place Holds No Fear is a powerful novel of finding love after experiencing unimaginable loss.