An astonishing find - the landmark journal of a
woman living though the Russian occupation of Berlin - which has already earned
comparisons to diaries by Etty Hillesum and Victor Klemperer
For six weeks in 1945, as Berlin fell to the
Russian army, a young woman, alone in the city, kept a daily record of her and
her neighbors' experiences, determined to describe the common lot of millions.
Purged of all self-pity but with laser-sharp observation and bracing humor, the
anonymous author conjures up a ravaged apartment building and its little group
of residents struggling to get by in the rubble without food, heat, or water.
Clear-eyed and unsentimental, she depicts her fellow Berliners in all their
humanity as well as their cravenness, corrupted first by hunger and then by the
Russians. And with shocking and vivid detail, she tells of the shameful
indignities to which women in a conquered city are always subject: the mass rape
suffered by all, regardless of age or infirmity. Through this ordeal, she
maintains her resilience, decency, and fierce will to come through her city's
trial, until normalcy and safety return.
At once an essential record and a work of great literature, A Woman in Berlin
not only reveals a true heroine, sure to join other enduring figures of the
twentieth century, but also gives voice to the rarely heard victims of war: the
When A Woman in Berlin was first published anonymously in German (five years after an English language version was published in 1954) it was greeted with disgust by German audiences and quickly went out of print. The author was so shaken by the response that she would not allow her diary to be republished again until after her death. In 2003 it was republished in Germany to critical acclaim and more controversy, but also to a great deal more recognition, empathy and understanding. A retranslation was published in English in hardcover last year, and this month in paperback. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Frank and affecting, a remarkable piece of war literature.
An important perspective on the tribulations facing ordinary Berliners during the siege and early occupation of their city by the Red Army.
The author.... has a fierce, uncompromising voice, and her book should become a classic of war literature.
New York Times
The book is graphic and unflinching, with the immediacy of all great diaries.
Booklist - Jay Freeman
This is a devastating and rare glimpse at ordinary people who struggle to survive.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Ghoti Fish The novel in a journal format The reader should be aware that this is a novel, that is a work of fiction. The novel which is told in a journal format.
Rated of 5
by E. Barham A woman in Berlin This is an extraordinary, unsentimental, beautifully written journal about Berlin at the end of the Second World War with the arrival of the Russian army
It is a factual account of the daily life of the the people,and in particular the women,... Read More
In ancient times rape was seen as a reward to the victors; for example, there are a number of references in the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures to acts of mass rape by conquerors, and plenty in Roman and Greek history.
In modern times mass rape has been increasingly used as a premeditated terror tactic by invading armies. According to ReligiousTolerance.org the Germans used rape as a tactic of terror as they marched through Belgium in World War I and gang rape was part of the orchestrated riots of Kristallnacht that marked the beginning of the Nazi campaigns against the Jews in November 1938 (incidentally, the British historian Martin Gilbert, has just published a very well reviewed book about Kristallnacht). The Russians used it as a weapon of revenge when they marched to Berlin in WWII, the Japanese raped an estimated 80,000 Chinese women in Nanking (and the total number of "comfort women" rapes between 1930-1945 is estimated at 10 million) and, sadly, it appears that rape of Vietnamese by American G.I.s was considered "standard operating procedure aimed at...
This never-before-translated masterpieceby a heroic best-selling writer who saw his life crumble under the Nazis is based on a true story. It presents a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis and tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the...
These are 2 of the 11 readalike suggestions for A Woman In Berlin. Members have full access to all readalikes. If you are a member, please login. To find out more about membership, click here.
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...