THE DANCING BEAR by Frances Faviell


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A portrait of Berlin. De Profunds. in the years 1946-1949 after its devastation by the Russians, is achieved through his personal memoir of the wife of a British officer stationed there and even more through her involvement with one family, the Altmanns. And it is just such a story as this which gives meaning to the dualistic character of the country, in which the spirit of Mein Kampf survives in both the Communist faction and in the Nazi revival- rather than any political argument. Frau Altmann, frail in strength but proud in spirit, reverences the Cross- not the Swastika- and belongs to a generation which no longer belongs. Herr Altmann dies, but she also grieves over her children; Kurt- who is lost in Russia; Fritz- with his blackmarketing activities who disappears into the Eastern sector; Lilli, a dancer, whose loveliness is prostituted- then lost when she dies of an abortion and tuberculosis; Ursula, whose fraternizing leads to marriage with Joe- a G.I.- rather than Max, whom she loves, for the security and salvation it offers. But it is Max who calls the tune to which the bear dances- ""We Germans are not democrats... Just because we are defeated and occupied it does not mean that our whole natures can be changed to accept something wholly alien to us""... A tragic city by day, a which of revelry by night, cold, famine and sickness underline the destitution which is physical as well as spiritual, while the Altmanns, remembered with affection, lend a touch of tragedy to the documentary here.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1954
Publisher: Norton