Berln Diari-1940-45

Marie Vassiltchikov, Author Alfred A. Knopf $19.95 (324p) ISBN 978-0-394-55624-6
Born of aristocratic Russian parents, Vassiltchikov was 24 when, her family scattered, she fled, penniless, from Lithuania to Berlin. Taking a job with the German Foreign Ministry, this emigree worked closely with underground resisters who launched an abortive plot to kill Hitler. Her secret wartime diary, written in fluent English, is a remarkable document alive with history, passion and truth. Calmly and unflinchingly, she records the moral, physical and political atrocities that unfolded around her. The reader experiences the Allied saturation bombing of Berlin from a German point of view (it only steeled the nation's morale). Her friends included active anti-Nazis as well as SS officers and members of Germany's social elite, many of whom, according to the author, loathed Hitler but were paralyzed by their obedience to authority and fear of reprisals. Transferred to Vienna as a Luftwaffe nurse, Vassiltchikov made a daring escape from the advancing Red Army. Her clear-eyed account of life in wartime Germany is gripping. The author died in England in 1978; her brother, a London businessman, prepared this diary for publication. Photos. (February 26)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
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