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The Mousetrap by [Eigner, Ruth Hanka]
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Product Description

Product Description

Ruth Hanka Eigner (1926 - 2010), who eventually immigrated to the United States and converted to Judaism, was one of many Germans living in the Czechoslovak Republic (Hitler's Sudetenland) for nearly a millenium. In The Mousetrap -- winner of the 2003 San Diego Book Award for an Unpublished Memoir -- she tells the harrowing true story of her experiences as a young Bohemian woman in the years after the Second World War ended. She tells of the understandable brutality with which she and her family and friends were treated after the Germans lost the war.

She also tells the story of a mother-daughter relationship that, because of the terrible times in which they lived, threatened to kill them both.

At the time of her death, Ruth had nearly completed the next portion of her autobiography, which is currently being prepared for publication.

Learn more about Ruth Eigner at or find her on page on Facebook --

From the Introduction to The Mousetrap --

Now that I have finally brought myself to write of these events, which took place nearly sixty-five years ago in a middle European land which no longer exists, I am faced with the fact that Americans now coming of age, like my own grandchildren, will need some historical background. The country was Czechoslovakia, created in 1918, made up of a hodge-podge of nationalities – Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, Hungarian, Poles and others -- previously ruled by the Austrians, losers of the First World War. My own people, ethnic Germans, had lived in this same territory for almost a thousand years, and since we spoke the same language as the Austrian rulers, I suppose we thought of ourselves as better than our neighbors. Many of us were also excessively proud of our German culture, believing that it was superior to that of the Slavic people who now vastly outnumbered us in the new country. There was great fear among chauvinists and prejudiced Germans that we might lose our national identity and be forced even to give up our language. These people argued and sometimes demonstrated violently for the creation of a new German country. And the uprisings they fomented were sometimes put down with corresponding violence. It was easy, therefore for Adolf Hitler to argue in 1938 that the German citizens of Czechoslovakia needed his protection. To “save” us, as he said, from the persecution of the Czechs, he annexed the part of the country in which we lived. I was only twelve when this happened, but I was old enough to remember that there was much cheering in the streets when the German troops marched in. I remember also that during the next seven years which passed before the defeat of the Nazis, Germans of my group, even boys I grew up with, enlisted or were drafted to fight in Hitler’s army. No doubt many of them joined in the persecution of those who had been our fellow Czechoslovakians for the past twenty years, the descendants of people who had been our neighbors for centuries. Who could blame the Czechs for wanting to get revenge once Hitler was gone, and they were back in power? They felt, that unless we were driven from the country, we would betray them again at the first opportunity. All this was understandable, but it did not lessen the fear of the German Czechoslovakians, both the innocent and the guilty among us, who faced this reciprocal terror. -- Ruth Hanka Eigner

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1534 KB
  • Print Length: 355 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007YNQ7Z8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #280,476 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 128 reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this down... May 16 2012
By dropdeadmediocre - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started this book while homeschooling my kiddos (they were working on math and didn't need me for the moment, so I decided to take a quick minute to read... I was so entranced with the writing, the story, the people, that I let them skip French class altogether, so that I could just keep reading.

It was interesting to me, that with all the books I've read about WWII, I have NEVER read one from this point of view... I had never considered how the innocent Germans were treated, especially after the war ended. It gave me a fresh perspective and challenged my thinking. I will be having my girls read this book alongside a few other memoirs and biographies when we begin studying WWII in history.

Honestly, I was so caught up in her story, I couldn't tell you if the formatting for the kindle was good or bad or somewhere in between. If there were typos, I didn't notice. It was that good.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TRAPPED BY HISTORY May 23 2012
By G. WEINBERG-HARTER - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
In the chaos of displacement and readjustment that gripped Europe for some years after catastrophic finish of the Second World War, the predicament of the German-speaking people who had lived in Bohemia for a thousand years - long as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, later in an independent Czechoslovak Republic, and then annexed by Hitler into his 3rd Reich as the Sudetenland - is seldom considered. Whether unjustly or justly, these ethnic Germans were greatly resented by the majority Czech, who had themselves cruelly suffered under the Nazi regime. The result was the postwar oppression and eventual expulsion from the restored and now Communist Czechoslovak nation of most of this German minority. As a girl and a young woman, Ruth Eigner lived through this calamitous period, finally to escape from Czechoslovakia and eventally become a US citizen. Her fascinating memoir details the many perplexities and perils she experienced and survived during those few transitional years of political and social upheaval in Bohemia (today the Czech Republic).
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars amazing memoir May 9 2012
By Nicole M. Daenk - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this book was so riveting i could hardly stand to put it down. the only thing that could be better from this author is...what happened next. her strength and courage through what she had to live through every day is truly inspiring. i highly recommend this book.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page-turner memoir from a German stuck in war-torn Czechoslovakia June 25 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My head still spins from this tornado of a story! I read it right through the day, ending at dawn, dropping everything else I was supposed to do.

For a change, this perspective of World War II, is that of a German. A young girl, Ruth, is a German in Czechoslovakia, who immediately after the war, finds herself mostly in deep trouble. I didn't even know some Germans were treated as badly - well, almost - as they had treated the Jews! Some of those Germans were not necessarily pro the Nazis, but they did nothing or were passively involved in some things. Sometimes they were forced to be involved.

Ruth, like so many Jewish Ruths, lived in fear of losing her freedom or even her life, on a daily basis as Czech authorities take a sort of revenge against the Germans and also use them to rebuild their war-torn country. Ruth goes through labour camps, being on the run, hunger, and abject circumstances. Her parents don't help. One is largely absent, the other extremely hostile to her, even wishing she hadn't been born. Under these circumstances, Ruth has to rely on herself. And she does, keeping herself and a mother undeserving of such loyalty, alive. With the danger closing in from all sides, Ruth feels she is in a complex mousetrap. This book has a whirlwind finish, though it's an abrupt one, leaving you wanting to know more about what happened to her afterwards.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting June 15 2012
By Mindy - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is really good and like other reviewers I could hardly put it down. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was because she totally leaves you hanging at the end; which was frustrating.