Summary and book reviews of A Woman In Berlin by   Anonymous

A Woman In Berlin

by   Anonymous

A Woman In Berlin by   Anonymous X
A Woman In Berlin by   Anonymous
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2005, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2006, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The diary of a young woman, recording her and her neighbors' experiences as, for six weeks in 1945, Berlin fell to the Russian army.

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 women.

Friday, April 20, 1945, 4:00 P.M.

It's true: the war is rolling toward Berlin.  What was yesterday a distant rumble has now become a constant roar.  We breathe the din; our ears are deafened to all but the heaviest guns.  We've long given up trying to figure out where they are positioned.  We are ringed in by barrels, and the circle is growing smaller by the hour.

Now and then whole hours pass in eerie silence.  Then all of a sudden you remember that it's spring.  Clouds of lilac perfume drift over from untended gardens and waft through the charred ruins of apartment houses.  Outside the cinema, the acacia stump is foaming over with green.  The gardeners must have snatched a few minutes between sirens to dig at their allotment plots, because there's freshly turned earth around the garden sheds up and down Berlinerstrasse.  Only the birds seem suspicious of this particular April: there's not a ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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...continued

Full Review (484 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Frank and affecting, a remarkable piece of war literature.

Library Journal
An important perspective on the tribulations facing ordinary Berliners during the siege and early occupation of their city by the Red Army.

Publisher's Weekly
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.

Reader Reviews

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, and...   Read More

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.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Warfare and Rape

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 ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked A Woman In Berlin, try these:

  • Those Who Forget jacket

    Those Who Forget

    by Géraldine Schwarz

    Published 2020

    About this book

    Those Who Forget, published to international awards and acclaim, is journalist Géraldine Schwarz's riveting account of her German and French grandparents' lives during World War II, an in-depth history of Europe's post-war reckoning with fascism, and an urgent appeal to remember as a defense against today's rise of far-right nationalism.

  • A Bookshop in Berlin jacket

    A Bookshop in Berlin

    by Francoise Frenkel

    Published 2020

    About this book

    "A beautiful and important book" (The Independent) in the tradition of rediscovered works like Suite Française and The Nazi Officer's Wife, the prize-winning memoir of a fearless Jewish bookseller on a harrowing fight for survival across Nazi-occupied Europe.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join & Save $10!

Discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten. One-year membership: $29

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: One Night Two Souls Went Walking
    One Night Two Souls Went Walking
    by Ellen Cooney
    In One Night Two Souls Went Walking, we follow a young interfaith chaplain as she carries out her ...
  • Book Jacket: Truthtelling
    Truthtelling
    by Lynne Schwartz
    The word "unsayable" can mean something is too vast to be put into words. Alternatively, it can ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book Collectors
    The Book Collectors
    by Delphine Minoui
    About halfway through The Book Collectors, I was disappointed. I came into the book with a ...
  • Book Jacket: Blue Sky Kingdom
    Blue Sky Kingdom
    by Bruce Kirkby
    Who hasn't dreamed of escaping all of the trappings of today's modern life and finding a secluded, ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
    by Ursula Hegi

    Set on a German island in 1878, perfect for fans of Water for Elephants.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline
The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.
Win This Book!
Win Jack

Return to Gilead with Jack, the instant New York Times bestseller

Enter to win Marilynne Robinson's latest novel in her classic series.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I G I O Ear A O T O

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.