BLOOD AND BANQUETS: A Berlin Social Diary by Bella Fromm

BLOOD AND BANQUETS: A Berlin Social Diary

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Some of this material has appeared in Harpers' Magazine, and already you may have had inquiries about its appearance in book form. There is a strange, impelling fascination about this glimpse behind the scenes of the social and diplomatic life of Berlin, as the Hitler regime came into power and gathered momentum. Bella Fromm, member of a well-to-do and prominent Jewish family, became a society reporter on an Ullstein paper. Hampered by restrictions on what could be said and could not be said in her column, she salved her conscience by keeping a diary, and -- as censorship grew stricter -- she sent the diary, piecemeal, out of Germany. It covers the years from 1932-38, when she left Germany, only to find that she was being shadowed by Nazi agents in America. To this period brief space is given, as she tells -- with no intent to dramatize herself, of how she was under enforced police protection until the Nazi ring was rounded up. The bulk of the book is the Berlin diary, an intimate, discerning panorama of the encroachments of the Nazi shadow. She saw industrialists and socialites coming under the power; she saw journalists and diplomats trying to ignore or disdain or dispute the rising tide; she saw the ugly personal side, the married lives and the families of these new rulers, the progress of racial discrimination, the social shenanigans, and so on. Detailed and graphic and new in approach. But better read in bits from time to time , as -- read at a stretch, it seems repetitious and overburdened with personalities that actually were to her symbols of what she sensed, but to the reader slow the narrative value. The directory of names at the end should prove a useful reference tool. The first material of this kind from so feminine a slant.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1942
Publisher: Harper