Published: 2005 by Picador
The woman who wrote of her experience in Berlin in the eight weeks following the city’s fall to Soviet troops at the end of World War II is nothing short of amazing. We hear so many stories about victims from the war, but rarely if ever have I seen a story of an innocent German citizen and what they were forced to endure.
The beginning of this diary, April 20, 1945, is the day that Berlin started seeing and hearing the war up close. The Soviets were advancing on the city and everyone is anxious; stories from areas already “liberated” by the troops describe terrible acts against women.
When the Soviets do arrive, the horror becomes reality. Young girls are hidden away to prevent their “violation” but very few other women were spared repeated rapes. The author of this diary is no exception, but she lays claim to a few officers (at separate times) who at least provide her and those with whom she is living food and other essentials. Some might question her actions, but who is to say how we would react under the same circumstances?
This diary is difficult to read at times but to me really proved that there were innocent victims on both sides of the war.
This book meets the “Book in a Wartime Setting” requirement for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2011.