What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?: Growing Up German

Sabine Reichel, Author Hill & Wang $17.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-8090-9685-5
Outspoken, pugnacious, penned in prose that cuts like a knife, this autobiographical sketch records how one German woman came to grips with her country's Nazi past and her parents' deafening silence. Born in Hamburg in 1946, Reichel writes of ``growing up among people with such a gruesome past.'' She means all Germans, but in particular, her ``blissfully apolitical'' mother, a beautiful Lithuanian refugee in Berlin, and her ``cynical and callous'' father, who feels no guilt about voting for Hitler. As a teenager, Reichel adored Kafka and Heine without knowing they were Jewish; she formed her images of Jews from stereotypes she picked up from German magazines. Now a freelance journalist living in New York who fled her native land in 1975, she believes the anarchy and rebellion of younger Germans results from their having been kept in ignorance about Nazism's evils for so long. Wary of Americans' flag-waving patriotism, she finds the average person in her adopted nation ``credulous and alarmingly undereducated.'' An important, opinionated book. Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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