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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Hans Fallada - Alone in Berlin

review written by Brian Lowen and read live on the bookshow 10th dec 2015
An unusual book this as it looks at the Second World War from the viewpoint of a German factory worker.

There appeared to be a great divide in Germany between those who belonged to the party and thought Hitler was great and those others who didn’t belong, probably because they could not afford the fees, and subsequently suffered, being the have nots and were depressed and under pressure from party members and particularly the Gestapo.

Life in Germany for the poor common workers was even worse than it was for the British people with food in very short supply, harsh working conditions and the constant fear of a knock on the door by the Brown shirts, the Gestapo or the SS.

It is 1940 and the party members are celebrating the success of the German Army in their campaign across Europe and now massed on the Channel shore, poised to take England over next. This will not take long they think, but how wrong they were.

The Party members may be celebrating, but one particular couple are not. Otto and his wife are mourning the loss of their son, killed at the front and have fallen out with the German party machine. They are so disillusioned with the war that they decide to do something about it. They start writing out lots of postcards

pleading with Germans to forsake the war effort and the party and stop supporting it and then distributing them around Berlin, being careful not to be seen when they drop them in public places.

This sabotage comes to the notice of the Gestapo who are naturally furious and set out to track down this phantom postcard writer.

The book is interesting in how it describes life in Berlin at that time but I found it too long.
There is very little action and several sub plots which all tend to get rather confusing.
I am afraid that I did not finish the book, just checked the ending to see what happened so am unable to recommend it.

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