views updated

Lauer, Betty 1926–

PERSONAL: Born Bertel Weissberger, 1926; daughter of Oskar and Ilona Weissberger; married Lawrence Lauer (deceased); children: two sons. Education: Earned a master's degree.

ADDRESSES: Home—Wilder, NH. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Smith & Kraus Publishers, P.O. Box 127, Lyme, NH 03768.

CAREER: Writer and educator. Queens College, New York, NY, formerly taught German literature. Has also taught German at the high-school level.

WRITINGS:

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Incredible True Story of a German-Jewish Teenager's Struggle to Survive in Nazi-Occupied Poland, Smith & Kraus (Hanover, NH), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS: Betty Lauer—born Bertel Weissberger—waited nearly six decades to write her memoir of growing up as a Jew during World War II; her book is titled Hiding in Plain Sight: The Incredible True Story of a German-Jewish Teenager's Struggle to Survive in Nazi-Occupied Poland. The author's father was deported from Germany in 1938. While he was in America trying to arrange for the rest of his family to follow, Bertel, her mother, and sister were gathered up, together with thousands of other Jews, and sent to Poland, where they lived in a Jewish ghetto under strict control by the local authorities. After the German occupation of Poland, it became apparent that Jews were being liquidated. After her sister, Eva, was taken by authorities, Bertel and her mother acquired fake papers certifying them as Polish Christians. In her memoir, the author recounts her continuous struggle to keep her and her mother's real identities a secret. The two traveled to Warsaw and fought in an uprising, got deported to a camp, eventually began their search for Eva, and then moved to America. "Even if you think you've read enough about the Holocaust, start this extraordinary eyewitness account, and you won't quit till you're finished," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. A reviewer for the Wisconsin Bookwatch called the memoir "a testament to the enduring human spirit," while in Library Journal, Elizabeth Morris commented that "the book is distinguished by a wealth of careful personal detail." Writing on the Enter Stage Right Web site, Steven Martinovich noted that, "as talented as a writer as Lauer is, there are likely no words capable of communicating her experiences." "Yet," the reviewer went on to comment, "Hiding in Plain Sight reminds us that there is good as well as evil in the world and that the human spirit is capable of unimagined strength."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Lauer, Betty, Hiding in Plain Sight: The Incredible True Story of a German-Jewish Teenager's Struggle to Survive in Nazi-Occupied Poland, Smith & Kraus (Hanover, NH), 2004.

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, September 15, 2004, Elizabeth Morris, review of Hiding in Plain Sight: The Incredible True Story of a German-Jewish Teenager's Struggle to Survive in Nazi-Occupied Poland, p. 65.

Publishers Weekly, July 5, 2004, review of Hiding in Plain Sight, p. 44.

Valley News (White River Junction, VT), April 2, 2005, Dan Mackie, "Author of Holocaust Memoir Counts Herself among the Lucky,"

Wisconsin Bookwatch, August, 2004, review of Hiding in Plain Sight.

ONLINE

Enter Stage Right, http://www.enterstageright.com/ (July 19, 2004), Steven Martinovich, review of Hiding in Plain Sight.

About this article

Lauer, Betty 1926–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article