Friday, November 10, 2006

A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous

War and related struggle of life has inspired many great books and movies. Some of them stands out by their way of narrating human stories and NOT those army / muscle men victory tales.
Worldwar II and the related Nazi and Holocaust stories are also abundant. All those stories were told by the victors or by the victims prior to the Allied Forces triumph over Germany, mostly those horrifying stories of the survivors.

Nazis were defeated in the war and the Germany was occupied by Russian and the Allied forces and the subsequently split Germany into Communist controlled east and US-allies controlled west.
I have just finished reading an amazing book by a woman who remain anonymous . She is writing in her notebook the time during the surrender of Nazi forces and occupation of Germany by the Red Army through the 8 weeks period, experienced by she and people around her. It is interesting to see the effects on the people who were forced to surrender and bear the aftermaths of a lost war. As in the case of any war stories, the occupied forces continue their loot , destruction and rape of the victims in their conquered land and the Russians were no exception. In a deserted city of Berlin , where most of the men are killed or fighting some loosing war elsewhere in the front or missing , the women and the old are enduring the occupation and humiliation . It is interesting to see the change in attitude and their willingness to co-operate the occupiers and accepting their fate brought on them by their rulers.
The visible change it brought to me is that I realised that under or after Nazi rule of Germany, the real victims were the German people themselves.

The author - the book is published after her death - we understand is from the publishing experience, comes out to be very intelligent and articulative. She had travelled Europe and Russia prior to the war and have basic knowledge on Russian and other european languages. She uses this to her advantage in dealing with Russians and also works as a interpreter between the occupiers and the survivors. She was also not spared in the onslaught of Russian Officers and she describe the incident in a matter of fact. The woman suffered at the hands of Russians live their sorrow by discussing this with their fellow victims.

While reading through the diary you will also realise the effect of this in the society and the narrator uses multiple incidents to take us through the ruins. Most of the woman associates themselves with one of the high ranking officer to escape the assault and they find nothing wrong in them.

While the "Diary of Anne Frank" is attributed to a girls innocence and Ellie Weisels books are intellectual and deep , this diaries are of a grown up intelligent person.

The world has not changed since then. Vietnam , Afghan , Iraq , Bosnia etc are still in front of us and the story is the same..

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