Before the Wall

George Clare, Author Dutton Books $19.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-24896-5
Born Georg Klaar in Austria in 1920, the author emigrated to England after the Anschluss (recalled movingly in his Last Waltz in Vienna ) and served in the British Army for the next decade. Here he focuses on his experiences in postwar Berlin, where his unit licensed Germans for work in the arts and media--provided they were ``de-Nazified.'' He tells of a few admirable Germans--such as the widow of an anti-Nazi general executed by Hitler who wanted no special treatment, and a teenage SS member who insisted on being arrested for war crimes--and the many others who claimed to have been anti-Nazi until Clare confronted them with their Nazi Party files. The book convincingly captures the mood of Berlin at a time when Soviet-Western relations cooled, Allied soldiers lived like princes and some Germans slowly began coming to grips with their history. Perhaps most striking are Clare's surprisingly generous feelings toward the citizens of the regime that killed his parents. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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