22 August, 2017


Title: A Woman in Berlin
Author: Anonymous
Series: -
Genres: War, Nonfiction, memoir
Publisher: Picador
Release: 11th July, 2006
Source: Hardcover
Pages: 288

// Goodreads /

For eight weeks in 1945, as Berlin fell to the Russian army, a young woman kept a daily record of life in her apartment building and among its residents. The anonymous author depicts her fellow Berliners in all their humanity, as well as their cravenness, corrupted first by hunger and then by the Russians. A Woman in Berlin tells of the complex relationship between civilians and an occupying army and the shameful indignities to which women in a conquered city are always subject--the mass rape suffered by all, regardless of age or infirmity.

EXPECTATIONS: This is one of the most shocking books I read, - was the thing my friend told me while giving this book to me. I knew it's going to be difficult to read, but I knew I had to. It was difficult, but not because it's bad, it was difficult because of how close it hit to everything I believe in, everything I stand for and just simply for being a woman.

THE WORLD: The plot takes place in Berlin in 1945. The war is about to end and out main protagonist, is telling us, the readers about the difficulties she and everyone left in Berlin have to endure. The world is gone you guys, the war has destroyed everything, literally everything and it's just so painful to read and understand that this is how people used to live, this is what people had to eat, wear and act like. Bombs, bunkers, dead or missing people, living in someone else's home because the owner simply won't come back. 

CHARACTERS: We never get to know our protagonists name. Actually in the book it's stated that all the names have been changed to protect the people, mostly the women. But the woman telling her story was very strong! She was a survivor! When we meet her we get to understand that before the war she was educated, she loved to read, partake in social life, she had a fiance, she had a job, she was a happy woman. War broke this strong woman physically, but not mentally. She keeps telling how tired she is of this life, questioning, what did she do to deserve something like this, but she never even for one second wants to give up. She wants to survive this, all these horrible things that happen to her, she wants to survive and tell them! I think you can imagine what she had to survive when the Russians came to Berlin. I actually read an article about Russian solders and how savage and just animal like they were to women. What they did to them everywhere they went. This book is no different, but those horrible things never break her. There is a passage in the book where our protagonist thinks to herself about a solution to avoid being raped over and over again and I had to stop at that point and just take a breath. To actually realize what this woman, and million other women just like her had to go through and how strong they had to be to actually not break but find a solution to protect themselves is just....I am at a loss for words.

In this book we also meet other women, men, soldiers. About that I have to say that not all soldiers were described badly. I guess there were some descent people everywhere.

ROMANCE: There were no romance in this book.

GOOD:  This book is an example that during a War everyone is suffering. Men are dying in the battlefield, women are dying left behind. Everyone is suffering, everyone!

There were so many places in this book, where I couldn't believe how strong women were. How smart. I'll spoil a little now, so if you will want to read this skip to this sentence. There's a passage in this book, where our protagonist explains how people are hiding their daughters and little girls so that they wouldn't get raped, and it's just so hard to read it. How a father needs to hide his daughter in the ceiling from 20 Russian soldiers. How a smart doctor gathers all small girls and puts a sign on her apartment, that she is taking care of people with sexually transmitted diseases, but actually is hiding the small girls to protect them from being raped. My heart is in pain.

Also what I liked was that while Russian where the horrible people who did these things to German women, we also got to realize that some where good people, they helped the women, and also that Germans did the same thing to Russian women. As I said, everyone suffers in war. There is no one good or one bad side!

BAD: If looking from a readers perspective, the only thing I would say was somewhat off about this book, was the writing, but perhaps they didn't edit much of the original text, since this was a diary. That being said, it gets difficult to read it at times.

OVERALL: My personal opinion is that everyone should read this book! And think really hard

What do you think about A WOMAN IN BERLIN?



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