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| Duration: 9 hrs 40 mins | ISBN 1846480604 1 846480787 | Language English | Audio CD in MP3 / 64Kbps | 297 mb From April 20th, 1945, the day when Berlin first saw the face of war, until June 22nd, when it was sacked by the Russian Army, the anonymous author of A Woman i n Berlin captured the stark reality of life within the falling city. Fending off the boredom and deprivation of hiding, the author recorded her experiences, obs ervations and meditations in this vivid diary. Accounts of the bombing, the rape s, the rationing of food and the overwhelming terror of death are rendered in th e dispassionate, though determinedly optimistic prose of a woman fighting for su rvival amidst the horror and inhumanity of war Review by Ursula Hegi, The Washington Post Quote: Berlin, spring 1945: "I am essentially living off my body, trading it for someth ing to eat." An anonymous woman is writing into her diary, questioning whether she should cal l herself a whore. With that same stunning frankness, she describes the plunderi ng of her neighborhood when Berlin was conquered and Soviet soldiers moved throu gh the city, raping women of all ages, attacking them alone or gang-raping them in stairwells, cellars, on the streets. A Woman in Berlin is an amazing and essential book. Originally written in shorthand, longhand and the author's own code, it is so de eply personal that it becomes universal, evoking not only the rapes of countless German women in 1945 but also the rape of every anonymous woman throughout war history - the notion of women as booty. The book's focus is not on the Nazi rampage across Europe but on its aftermath, when 1.5 million Red Army soldiers crossed the Oder River and moved westward. More than 100,000 women in Berlin were raped, but many of them would never speak of it. "Each one of us will have to act as if she in particular was spared," An onymous writes. "Otherwise no man is going to want to touch us anymore." Anonymous was an editor and journalist. Her voice is unlike most other voices fr om that period: She probes, refuses to look away. Nearly half a century ago, when her diary was first published in German, it chal lenged the postwar silence and all it concealed: guilt, lies, defensiveness, den ial. . . What courage it must have taken her to agree to publication! She was initially r eluctant and insisted on anonymity - a wise decision that protected her from the stigma of rape and, somewhat, from the outrage of her readers. How dare she dishonor German women? How dare she remind German men that they hadn't protected their wives or mothers or daughters from rape? How dare she survive by forming a relationship with one rapist, who was willing to protect her from other attackers and provide her with food? "I hear that other women have done the same thing I have," she writes, "that the
the impact is very different from rape during peacetime." Since Anonymous spoke Russian. focused and without self-pity and hypocrisy. she tried to e scape. . . . ." She knows the "blank. she heard that Hitler and Goebbels were dead. War news came to her from the occupiers: By April 30." she wr . . Later that day. she did not consider herself a victim but understood the Russians' violence as the consequence of German cruelties in the Soviet Union. .as if she were having a conversation with hers elf . Her diary focuses on the moment . . her breasts. canned meat? To some extent I'm sure I am . caught her. Her swollen mouth is stic king out of her pale face like a blue plum . shiny eyes" of hunger. a bizarre sense of humor and the capacity to find odd moments of joy in her surroundings . .is at the core of her wri ting. It informs her perspective with dignity and grit. Her neighbor." How can any woman survive mass rape? How can any woman live with the impact of m ass rape? According to A Woman in Berlin. . Terrified. This voice is irreverent an d insightful. .physically and emotionally ." When she replaces Petka with a new protector. she told him she would be with him if he protected her from the other s. is attacked by "at least twenty. But her voice suggests a woman who disagreed and adapted. " The first day of the occupation. But many don't. Anonymous writes about other women on her block who adapt and survive. in a tree stump "foaming over with green. butter. sugar. . something foreseen and feared many times in advance .and gives scant information about her past politics. Elvira. [reserved] for officers only. . "We're dealing with a collective experience. . Petka.y're now spoken for and therefore taboo . Anonymous was raped by two Russians. who don't take kindly to low-ranking poachers trespassing on their private preserve. . Others asked her to be a matchmaker and promised her food. something we are overcoming collectively as well. But one of them. knows what it's like to eat nettles and knows how "all thinking and feeling. Many Germans who supported Hitler now claimed to resent him. candles. The phrase "For all of this we thank the Führer" was no longer used to praise Hitler but to denounce him. One Russian told her about German soldiers who brutally kille d children in his village. she translated for Russians and the people in her building. but she doesn't know exactly. when four more Russians broke into her apartment. This urge to survive . out of all the male beasts I've seen these past days he's the most beara ble. There are suicides and horrendous injuries.in the scent of lilacs. all bruised and bi tten. Moreover I can control him. Even when Anonymous was afraid or in pain. she questions herself: "Am I doing it for bacon. all wishes and hopes begin with food. who used her considera ble survival skills to observe and think and record. .
The letter-writer (among others. the hunger. "A Woman in Berlin" is a powerful book and will make the reader wonder how far t hey would go to survive if they were in a similiar situation." Amazon Reviews Quote: A Woman In Berlin Rings True (Milton E.ites. for m e. Quote: Bearing Witness by Bearing Besting Brutality It's unsettling to have to rate this profound diary of a woman's agony. at one point. including a Toronto reviewer) claims the woman was the Berlin journalist Marta Hiller (1911-2001) and how only her death allowe d the new translation to be undertaken after an agreement had been made to keep her identity a secret while she was alive. independent by its very existence from any criteria except that which preserves truth. By the way. I waited a long time to read this. How this would in any way diminish the journal's veracity remained unclear after I had read the letter-writer's argument. The anonymous writer writes grippingly of the brutal Russian occupation of Berli n in the late spring of 1945. I was #20 in the library hold list. Quote: World War II From A Woman's Perspective Most of the literature on World War II is written by men on the military ascepts of the conflict (see Winston Churchill's "The Second World War" or Stephen Ambr ose's "D-Day"). airing their pain. the lack of sanitation of a ruined capital are a ll here. I c an therefore endorse this publication for it's veracity and excellent portrails of the people and of the conditions under which they struggled to survive. The building ruins.S.all leve ls of society-about their experiences during the period covered by the book. before I obtained a copy. Her first person account of the repeated rapes by the Russians and the choices t hat a woman needed to make in the chaos of war in order to live is chilling. she claims she's thirty. rather than detracting from the power of this diary. they for me confirm that a real woman lived through these two months and not a frustrated novelist or de termined forger. when in fact she was thirty-f . This is a reprint of a classic memoir of a woman's survival in the wreckage of a fallen Berlin from fifty years ago. Muelder . Meanwhile . It is wh at it is. Conversant in German I was able to talk at length with many Berliners . an d allowing others to air theirs and spit out what they've suffered. Military Govern ment High Command in Berlin) I arrived hard on the heels of the days described b y the author. I had read the assertion in a letter to the NYTBR qu estioning the authenticity of the diary. "All the women help each other by speaking about it.Vice-President Emeritus Michig an State University) As a navy officer and as a special consultant to OMGUS (The U. I mention these details because.
created this eyewitness account. Perhaps some skeptics might challenge the author on grounds that the storyline s eems too pat.our! Perhaps this all-too-stereotypical "white lie" only confirms its truth! Philip Boehm in his forward verifies that tests have been made that prove that t he journal was written at the time. Reading it. I hazard that this only shows that a professional did indeed write the diary and. and to me all the more support that a fully human and real survivor (in the fun damental sense of a word all too lately too often speciously claimed).as the preface explains . that she . Women come out generally better than men. and defia nt if careful young woman created this diary.polished her initial rea ctions as she worked on them every day or two and filled her notebook. while it does bear the well-designed "arc" of a cohesive narrative t hat begins on Hitler's last birthday and ends as the author meets again her fian ce Gerd. . and not a calculated counterfeiter. It's as if she began the diary as a commitment to remind herself of her ability to remain "human" as the Russians advanced and the threat of rape became reality and no longer rumor. Without this journal as a factor in her resistance to violence and an antidote t o the degradation it records. and wit. Again. I think that this supports the fact that a fully-rounded. and in one passage i n the margin detailing one woman's latest coupling notes "for future novelists" as she deftly parodies purple passionate prose! These touches of gallows humor do much to alleviate an otherwise grim chronicle. resiliance. as is evident from the details that demonstrate her education and obs ervational skills. ethically complicated. too structured. determinedly clever. She writes with an eye to the future. But I think this only strengthens this d ocument of a sophisticated woman's successful attempt to survive brutality with cleverness. too neat. I wonder if she could have borne the cruelty she d id in such an ultimately defiant and truly feminist method of overcoming the mal e urge to destroy with the female's imperative to sustain a recognizably human a nd unflinchingly honest life within such bestial horror.
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