Monday, May 30, 2022

Review of "A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City," by Anonymous

 Review of

A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City, by Anonymous ISBN 0805075402

Five out of five stars

On being female when Russian troops arrive

 The history of what the German troops did in the sections of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during the Second World War have been well documented. Therefore, when the troops of the Soviet Red Army moved into Germany, there was the expectation that they would have brutal revenge on their minds. This book is the diary of a German woman resident of Berlin in the last weeks of the war and the first weeks of the Red Army occupation.

 In many ways, it is tamer than what one would expect in the circumstances. While most women that were visible were raped, there were no mass executions. In what comes across as a bizarre twist, in many instances the Russians were quite polite. Their solicitation of sex were generally accompanied with acts of kindness in the form of higher quality food. They are also depicted as crude, using corners of apartments as toilets and tracking dirt and horse manure throughout the dwellings that they entered.

 Once Germany surrendered and the bullets stopped, the people did what they could to create something resembling a normal life. To many of the women, this meant forming an understanding with a higher ranking member of the Soviet military, in essence becoming his personal and exclusive German lady friend. A thoroughly understandable survival mechanism.

 The German defeat in World War II left the country prostrate. In this book, you learn about women taking that position in order to eat and avoid being further brutalized.

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