A Woman in Berlin

A Woman in Berlin

Eight Weeks in the Conquered City : A Diary

Book - 2005
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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.
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2005.
ISBN: 9780805075403
Characteristics: xxi, 261 p. ;,22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Boehm, Philip


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Jun 09, 2015

This book is mesmorizing. A war book but so much more.

May 05, 2015

An important and interesting account of the eight weeks following the Russian army's entry to Berlin in 1945 and the rape of an estimated 100,000 women. First published in 1953, it was suppressed because of the portrayal of German men during this period and Germans in general. It is unsentimental and clear-eyed.

Aug 15, 2014

An important historical document. How did those who remained in Berlin during the Battle for Berlin survive? This book gives a look from a female perspective.

bibliotechnocrat Jan 15, 2014

An intelligent woman describes in searing detail what life was like for her and her neighbours in the final weeks of the war. The arrival of the victorious Russians shifts the narrative from the horror of the bombs to a new kind of self-preservation. This is a really gripping book that you won't be able to put down. Highly recommended.

May 17, 2012

Read this, then see the film treatment.

Chitownchica Jan 12, 2012

Brave story that says all the things that never get said.

Nov 16, 2011

My mother who grew up in Germany during World War II thought this book was the first she had read that truly captured what it was like for a woman living through those years. I found this book incredibly interesting as well as painful based on my Mom's and grandmother's experiences.

Jun 11, 2011

I made a mistake and watched the movie before reading the book. The book is far superior. It strikes me how calm this woman is in her narrative. The movie threw in a love story for no apparent reason. For the narrator, it's only about survival. Women are better fit for survival. They don't complain and just keep pulling. It's sad how the men first live off the food these raped women managed to procure and not long after accuse the women of low morals.

Aug 06, 2007

Crystal clear writing from inside a time of defeat and occupation.

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