A woman in Berlin – Anonyma

Hi!

I’m going to try out something new. I’ve figured out that since the blog’s Instagram is in English, then probably should my blog as well. So I’m going to try this out for a while and see what people think and if it doesn’t fling then I’ll just go back to Norwegian.

The woman’s notes keep track of the Russian invasion of Berlin in her journal from the 20th of April to the 22nd of June in 1945. She gives us a first-hand view into the life of Berlin’s population. The women, children and older men are left in the ruins of a town that once was Germany’s glory and Hitler’s biggest pride. The city is without electricity and water. The anonymous woman shows how people can become animals when it comes to the most basic things. Stripped of everything and not knowing where their next meal will come from people steal from neighbours, shops and sometimes even friends. She herself is involved in this stealing, at least from the shops, along with the people she shares a house and a basement. The stealing keeps her alive. Her notes are full of tales about different Russian soldiers. Some are more friendly than others. Some rape her and some become her protectors for a little while. They bring her and her roomies, an old woman and an old man, food that makes it easier for them to survive. Several young women lost their virginity this way during those two months it took the Soviets to take over the city. 

It is interesting how the author during the notes reflect on men. She looks at men almost as weak creatures. The men went to war and left their families at home, now the families has to fight for their survival and their men can do nothing to protect them from the Russians. During these two months women were viewed as prices for the Allies victories all over Berlin. She feels sorry for the German soldiers she see in the streets retreating further into the city. I guess this would be her bitterness talking. Her own boyfriend is fighting for the German army, and she doesn’t know if he will ever come home. Her frustration and hunger is not directly turn towards him necessarily, it seems like it’s first turned toward Hitler himself, then towards the men fighting for him and at the end her own boyfriend. She didn’t say much when he was called in for the army, she knew it was bound to happen.

I have a hard time viewing this book in my head. I think it is for anyone who didn’t live at the time to imagine what this was like. People who live in war-areas nowadays will have a better idea than anyone I expect. Although I struggle to imagine it, I can make out a little image in my head of her street, the long way she has to walk to her friends and how she lives crammed together with two other people. The change they have in their language during these two months are fun to read about. She herself writes in her journal about how they talk about everything like it’s all a daily struggle like getting water. The rapes, the men, the constant hunt for food. They have all change from the proper people they were before the war into people who seems like savages compared. Before the war they would never talked like they do during those two months that we read about. Her boyfriend Gert reacts to this when he returns home. War changes everybody, both for better and worse.

The book is good, even for me who doesn’t enjoy reading diaries very much. Still I keep reading them and this one seem more real to me compared to the other ones that I’ve read. I think it has to do with the fact that the three other diaries has been written by young girls. Not that their story is any less real, but I think they have contained too much of those teenage girls dreams that I have had a hard time to grasp. Although dreaming is important to not loose ones mind in times of crisis. While reading this and later watching the move I came to think that I feel sorry for the woman in the book. Normally we don’t necessarily think about the Germans with pity during the war, we normally think of the Allies or the Jews and so on. Reading this book makes me feel sorry for all the people to had to go similar things as the author. Many people wanted the war and to see Hitler succeed, and so many others wanted to live in peace and didn’t want anything to do with the Nazis. No, I feel sorry for the author and her fellow women back then and this is a new view for me, because I haven’t thought about it as much as before I read this book. There are costs and prices in every war, but for the some the cost is greater than the price.

The book was made into a movie not so long ago and you can find it on YouTube! When the book first came out in 1953 it caused an uproar. People thought it to be a wrongdoing of German women all over. It became so intense that the author was promised that the book would never be released as long as she lived and even after her death her name would not be revealed.

Published: 2003

Genre: Biography/Diary

Theme: 2nd World War, friends, family, survival

– The Book Reader

Bilderesultat for en kvinne i berlin

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