Norwegian title: Til Berlin faller
Easter is here, and for the first time in 5-6 years, I’m actually going to attempt to have something called Easter break. I’m going to have it a week late because I’m babysitting Princess and Nala, family cats, in Stavanger and I’ve finished the draft for my thesis so that needs some celebration! This time it is Kagge publishing house who has provided me with a WW2copy, and I really liked it! I’ve translated the synopsis from Goodreads;
The unknown story about Norwegian in the midst of Hitler’s reich.
Early April 1940: Aftenposten’s Berlin-correspondent The Findahl discovers sensational news. Nazi-Germany is planning to invade Norway, but nobody believes his discoveries enough to take his warnings seriously. Findahl had arrived in Berlin the previous year and stayed within the city all through the war. His diaries described the critical world news that took place and the ever harder daily life within the capital. The author spins a great network of other Norwegian and Scandinavians around Findahl. These are business people, students, and correspondents within all political genres. Findahls nephew, Dresden student Sverre Bergh, arrives in 1941 and is recruited by the Allies as a spy. He soon discovers secrets which can affect the war outcome. At the same time, we follow the Hjort family. Within its centre is the outspoken Johan Bernhard Hjort, a previous national socialist who was sentenced to house arrest in Germany. His anti-nazi daughter Wanda soon understands that they can use their stay in a constructive way. In the end, all the threads are collected in a dramatic story about a little known part of the Norwegian war story. The Third Reich is on the brink of breakdown, and it’s all about survival – until Berlin falls.
I have to say I was a bit disappointed when I started reading Until Berlin Falls. However! This was very quickly turned around to happiness when I discovered what the book was really about. I thought it was about Norwegian Nazis who stayed in Berlin, and partly it was about that as well, but it was also so much more within these two binders. First of all, I have to say I’m very impressed with the detailed research work that must have gone into creating this book. The details are great! There is background on people who are central to the story which makes it easy to keep track of who is who. I was familiar with Theo Findahl from before because I’ve heard the book Spy within Hitler’s Reich by Svein Sæther, who is Findahls nephew Sverre Bergh. I enjoyed tying those knots together remembering that book and now reading this one.
Second of all, I think I now can claim that I’ve read quite a few World War 2 books over the years, but this one taught me more than any other book has in a while. That just comes to show that no matter how much you read you’ll never be fully educated on a topic. I’m not a historian, but I will say its safe to claim that I’m over the top interested in this topic. I enjoyed reading this book, alongside its great language and structure, because I learned so much from it. If there are some historical inaccuracies in it I didn’t find them, but the synopsis indicates that there’s a story made within the truth? I found the reading experience to be superb anyhow!
What I enjoyed most with this book was learning about the importance of Norwegian help in organizing and locating prisoners within the concentration and death camps. I’ve always assumed that it was a very stressful and comprehensive task, but I had never imagined that it was as comprehensive as this book indicates. I’ve always thought it was the Swedes who did most of the work, and yes, they did a lot, but there was also some Norwegians who made up a network within Nazi-Germany in order to help the prisoners and this was new information to me.
Until Berlin Falls is a great book! If you’re interested in the war from a Norwegian perspective I suggest that you put this on your TBR asap! It is also a great book for learning if you don’t know as much about the war but want to learn more about it. I enjoyed the Norwegian focus within it and found it very enriching! If you don’t enjoy thick books I can assure you that this great reading experience is no more than 287 pages long!
Theme: World War 2, history, resistance work
– The Book Reader