by Daniel Burghard
It is no understatement to say that World War II and the Cold War are two of the most important topics in terms of our recent history. Walk into any book store and you will find whole sections dedicated to them.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, they are recent history, meaning that we have not yet lost many of those fine, humanising details to the passage of time. Secondly, many of the locations are still "intact", removing the issue posed at some of the more ancient locations where a healthy imagination is often needed to even gain the slightest understanding of what you are looking at. Finally, until recently, many of the people involved were able to give a clear explanation of the happenings as they saw them.
There are hundreds of books written by people from all walks of life who lived through these traumatic and haunting times. However, although it is relatively easy for an English speaker getting an account of the war from an American soldier or a British nurse, finding accounts and memories from German citizens living through this time can be difficult to find.
There are many grounds why this might be the case, however, as the saying goes, you can't truly understand something until you have heard all sides of the story. The best way to avoid the evil acts of the past is to understand how we got there, and what better way to learn it, than from the people who lived through it?
Through the help of the wonderful ZeitZeugenBörse (Time Witness Buro) in Berlin, Daniel has been put in contact with some of the witnesses to the past and, in this book, gives accounts from 8 people who lived in Germany during these times of massive geo-political unrest. In this book, you will find firsthand accounts of the Soviet takeover of Berlin, a harrowing tale of a son losing his father to the concentration camps. You will get insight into the experiences of a political prisoner of the Stasi as well as what it was like for a Jewish woman fleeing Germany to Australia in 1939, only to return to work for the Stasi as an IM. German soldier, school boy, shop keeper, politicians and more all tell their stories to help us better understand and to help ensure these acts are never repeated.
So come along for a journey through history and get a detailed glimpse into the past.