BOOK REVIEW: The Kommandant’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff


Title: The Kommandant’s Daughter
Author: Pam Jenoff
Publication: December 31, 2018
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 368

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SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into Poland. Within days Emma’s husband is forced to disappear underground, leaving her alone in the Jewish ghetto. In the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out and brings her to Krakow, where she takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.

Emma’s already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. As the atrocities of war intensify, Emma must make unthinkable choices that will force her to risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves.


Pam Jenoff is my main go-to author for Historical Fiction.  She is one of those authors that I will purchase the books without even reading the blurb or anything of that nature. I then proceeded to find this book on Audible in some sale they were having.  I jumped at the chance to listen to another book and knock one off my physical TBR pile. I was excited to dive in also because my family is Polish and I take all opportunities to learn more about my background. 

Emma is a Jew who works in the Library in Krakow. While she is working she meets Jacob.  They court, fall in love, and get married.  Within 3 weeks Jacob leaves her to work for the resistance that she knew all along he was doing.  The events that unfold after he leaves are ones that she never thought would happen to her.  I gave this book 3 stars because of how whiney and annoying I found Emma to be.  Maybe it was the narrator or whatnot but by the end of the book I was ready for it to be done.  Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed the book and liked reading about Poland during the war.  

The way the author wrote about how Catholics risked their lives to hide Jew’s right under the Gaztapo noses was interesting.  I mean there is a lot of debate over what the Catholic Church actually did to assist the Jews. The book is also from an interesting standpoint that the main character gets a job for the Nazi Party as the Kommandant’s Personal Assistant.  The story somewhat highlights what a closeted Jew had to do.  While I hope that what they did wasn’t as extreme as what Emma did, something tells me that what she did was probably not far off from what actually occurred if we dig into the archives. I liked the way the author wrote the Kommandant. For being a German and a Nazi (at least I think he was I never entirely figured that out) he was rather likable and at least seemed like what was happening to the Jews was somewhat despicable.  I have several more of the author’s books on my shelf and I do even have more books that go with this series. 

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