A Woman in Berlin

Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary

Anonymous; Translated by Philip Boehm

Metropolitan Books

Download Image Anonymous; Translated by Philip Boehm A Woman in Berlin

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An astonishing find-the landmark journal of a woman living though the Russian occupation of Berlin-which has already earned comparisons to diaries by Etty Hillesum and Victor Klemperer

For six weeks in 1945, as Berlin fell to the Russian army, a young woman, alone in the city, kept a daily record of her and her neighbors' experiences, determined to describe the common lot of millions.

Purged of all self-pity but with laser-sharp observation and bracing humor, the anonymous author conjures up a ravaged apartment building and its little group of residents struggling to get by in the rubble without food, heat, or water. Clear-eyed and unsentimental, she depicts her fellow Berliners in all their humanity as well as their cravenness, corrupted first by hunger and then by the Russians. And with shocking and vivid detail, she tells of the shameful indignities to which women in a conquered city are always subject: the mass rape suffered by all, regardless of age or infirmity. Through this ordeal, she maintains her resilience, decency, and fierce will to come through her city's trial, until normalcy and safety return.

At once an essential record and a work of great literature, A Woman in Berlin not only reveals a true heroine, sure to join other enduring figures of the twentieth century, but also gives voice to the rarely heard victims of war: the women.

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Book Excerpts

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From A Woman in Berlin:
Friday, 11 pm, by the light of an oil lamp, my notebook on my knees. Around 10 pm there was a series of bombs. The siren started right in screaming. Apparently it has to be worked by hand now. No light. Running downstairs in the dark, we slip and stumble. Finally we're in our cellar, behind an iron door that weighs a hundred pounds. The official term is air-raid shelter. We call it cave, underworld, catacomb of fear.

It's the usual cellar people on the usual cellar chairs, which range from kitchen stools to brocaded armchairs.

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A Woman in Berlin Official Movie Trailer

Watch this video and see the official trailer for the film adapation of A Woman in Berlin, set in 1945 during the Red Army invasion of Berlin.

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Reviews

Praise for A Woman in Berlin

"One of the essential books for understanding war and life."
-A. S. Byatt

"This is a victim's eye view, a woman's perspective of a terrifying onslaught on a civilian population . . . one of the most important personal accounts ever written about the effects of war and defeat."
-Antony Beevor, from the introduction


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About the Author

Anonymous; Translated by Philip Boehm

Anonymous was a young woman at the time of the fall of Berlin. She was a journalist and editor during and after the war.

Anonymous

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Available Formats and Book Details

A Woman in Berlin
Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary
Anonymous; Translated by Philip Boehm

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ALA Notable Books - Winner

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
August 2005
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805075403
ISBN10: 0805075402
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages
$23.00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
July 2006
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312426118
ISBN10: 0312426119
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages
$16.00
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