Skip to main content

Distributed for Haus Publishing

This Place Holds No Fear

Translated by Anne Posten
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.

272 pages | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2014


Haus Publishing image

View all books from Haus Publishing


“Born from deep, immersive study. . . . Expertly translated. . . . Make[s] for sobering but deeply rewarding reading.” 

Daily Beast

“A quite extraordinary book.”

Focus, on the German edition

“Powerful, emotionally wrenching, and beautifully written. I can't help but be astonished that someone who wasn't yet born by the time the war ended could, through research and stories, write such a moving, empathetic novel that captures the myriad ways in which survivors try to piece themselves together and go on living. This is a masterful book that I recommend to everyone.”

Rachel S. Cordasco | Bookishly Witty

“Thought-provoking. . . . What marks Held’s novel as an important addition to the large body of historical fiction about the lives of camp survivors is her exploration of Heiner’s psychological need to embrace his Auschwitz experiences rather than struggling to repress or overcome them.”

Three Percent

“There is so much to be gleaned from this very brave, worthy and most eye-opening of books.”

David Marx

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press