ON THE OTHER SIDE: To My Children: From Germany 1940-1945 by Mathilde Wolff-Monckeberg

ON THE OTHER SIDE: To My Children: From Germany 1940-1945

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Married to an enlightened, humane professor of English literature and nauseated by the Nazis, Mrs. Wolff-Monckeberg was nonetheless one of those Germans in Hamburg upon whom the British firebombs unselectively fell. ""In the Sierchstrasse several houses have collapsed and fire is still raging. The sight of the Bellevue is dreadful, and the Mulenkamp is nothing but glass and rubble. We go to bed completely shattered."" Writing these diary-letters to her children, knowing that they can't be sent, she maintains her courage by simply detailing the days and years: attending university lectures on Thucydides and Shakespeare, evacuations to the country, bartering tactics, illnesses and family tragedies among the greater tragedy of the war, fear and loathing of the Russians, and the frustration of being unable to satisfactorily answer the question of the British occupiers: ""Didn't you know?"" Mrs. Wolff-Monckeberg says that they didn't, that toward the end ""people who were wearing party badges had them torn off their coats and there were screams of 'Let's get that murderer' ""--but she has the decency to never push an alibi. Estimable in its way, but hardly compelling.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1979
Publisher: Mayflower