Tag Archives: Nazis

Book Review: My Father’s Country by Wibke Bruhns

30 Aug

My Father’s Country by Wibke Bruhns is the story about her father Hans Georg Klamroth a German business man and Wehrmacht officer executed in 1944 for his part in the Stuaffenberg assassination attempt.

It’s also one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read.

Because the author was only 6 years old at the time of her fathers death, she only has letters, diaries, and the words of others to gain insight into her father’s life.

Fortunately for her, her family kept quite a record of itself. Besides the family history there are extensive diaries and letters for her to use.

Indeed the story of H.G. as he is commonly referred to, is an interesting. Being groomed for the family business, young H.G. serves in WW I, travels to America for work, gets married and has five kids, and becomes a member of the Nazi Party.

In defense of H.G. he doesn’t become a Nazi enthusiastically, but more out of a sense of utility. This may explain H.G.’s role in the assassination attempt.

Though his role is hard to explain and at best he was merely aware of the situation, because his son-in-law was one of the major planners, he himself had nothing to do with the attempt.

Still that complicity was enough to have him hanged.

Getting to know Hans Georg Klamroth along with his daughter the author, is a very unique experience. From the family history, through childhood and adulthood the journey is quite surreal. You of course know where it will end up, but you have to keep reading to find out what else happens and how it happens from the perspective of all involved.

The story of the Klamroth family is an interesting one and one of historical significance and an interesting look at life from the German families perspective through the first half of the 20th century. A must read.

Book Review; Berlin at War

4 Apr

Berlin at War By Roger Moorhouse is a look at the experiences of Berliners during World War II. As the title implies the book is about Berlin during the war, but the focus is on the people and what life was like for many of them. It is not in the true sense a book about the war itself.

Moorhouse is very thorough is exploring all the different manners in which the war and Naziism changed that city and it’s inhabitants. Each aspect is covered, from the rise of Nasiism and the development of Berlin, to the bombing raids and the deportation of the city’s Jewish residents.

Many people simply assume that the German people of the Second World War, were simply animals. This book helps to explore the other side of German life during that period. Berliners it seems were not overly eager to support Hitler, but at the same time did not manifest their dislike in any actionable way.

Because the book discusses many different aspects of life in Berlin at the time, there are several thought provoking sections.

For example, because Berliners in general did not like Hitler and the Nazi party (with their dislike growing, the longer they were around), would they have been active in their effort had they known that the Valkyrie plot was an effort to take over the city? As Moorhouse points out, the conspirators in the plot kept the effort private to as not to create additional hassles.

Perhaps the mentality of Berliners can be summarised with one paragraph from the book about a Berliners journal entry after a bombing raid, on page 345.

Neither rubble shoveling, nor pillow rescuing has anything to do with Nazi enthusiasm or resolution to endure. Nobody thinks of Hitler as he boards up the kitchen window.What everyone thinks of is that you can’t live in the cold, that before evening fall and the sirens wail you must have a corner where you can lay your head and stretch your legs the way you choose to do it, and not the way someone else wants you to choose.

This paragraph nicely sums up the duality of the average Berliners attitude during the war. Knowing that things aren’t right but being possessed by a feeling that there is nothing they can do about it.

Moorhouse does an excellent job relaying the thoughts, feelings, experiences, and even sights and sounds of the people of Berlin during the war.Berlin at War is easy to read. The language is simple enough and the details are no more than what is necessary to understand the issue and no less void so as to leave you wondering.

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