When we talk about the Holocaust, we often admire the resilience it must have taken to maintain one's dignity in the face of horror. Like many readers, I was first introduced to the literature of the period through The Diary of Anne Frank, and later, through the work of Jewish writers like Primo Levi. I had never considered the German perspective on the Nazis, so when I first began reading Every Man Dies Alone, I wasn't sure what to expect. The novel is not, as I'd imagined, a portrayal of atrocities, though there are certainly beatings and Gestapo interrogations. Fallada doesn't dwell on the more visible signs of war like bombings, marches, or political rallies. Instead, the scale is domestic. Petty opportunism, betrayals, and the strain of family life combine to weave a story that is sometimes frustrating in its meandering, but often revealing in its depiction of a world governed by ...
About the Author
Rudolph Ditzen (1893-1947), one of the most famous German writers of the inter-war era, better known by his pen-name Hans Fallada (the last name comes from a Brothers Grimm tale about a horse with magical powers) produced a substantial body of work during his life - fiction and nonfiction, children's books, journalism and political essays.
In 1938, his British publisher, George Putnam, sent a boat to take Fallada and his family out of Germany but Fallada felt he had to stay. By 1943, his life had fallen apart, plagued by mental illness, his marriage was failing and he was addicted to both alcohol and morphine. Locked up in a Nazi insane asylum in 1944 propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels ordered him to write an anti-Semitic novel. Fallada pretended to do so, but instead wrote three short novels in code. After the war ended, a friend, hoping to inspire him, gave him ...
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