Farrar, Straus and Giroux
With this successor book to Prague in Black and Gold, his account of more than a thousand years of history in the great Central European capital, Peter Demetz focuses on the six years that Prague was under German occupation in World War II: from the bitter morning of March 15, 1939, when Hitler arrived from Berlin to set his seal on the Nazi takeover of the Czechoslovak government, until the liberation of Bohemia in April 1945. Demetz was a boy living in Prague then, and here he joins his objective chronicle of the city under Nazi control with his personal memories of that period, expertly interweaving a superb account of the German authorities’ diplomatic, financial, and military machinations with a brilliant description of Prague’s evolving resistance and underground opposition. The result is a complex, continually surprising book filled with rare human detail and warmth, the gripping story of a great city meeting the dual challenge of occupation and of war.
"Prague in Danger is a compulsive read, and very finely done. There is by now a mass of more or less analytical commentary on the Protectorate, and of course we have powerful memoirs and personal testimony. But I haven't seen the two genres combined in this way, and with such great sensitivity to the interplay of public and private.
"Demetz conveys very poignantly, and with sharp insight, just what it was like to live day to day in occupied Prague, and moreover to live right at the intersection of the Czech, Jewish and German spheres. He embodies exactly what was destroyed by Nazi thuggery and then by Czech vengefulness. I enjoyed too the forays into cultural history--of jazz or film, for example, or about Orten and Jesenska; and I hope that they can be appreciated, even by those who know nothing of the background, as conveying a flavour of the period and place.
"The politics are likewise depicted with a sure touch and sound judgment, as well as with an eye for the unfamiliar vignette, even in the case of the best-known episodes. Demetz's book should sharpen many readers' sense of the peculiar tragedy of the very last phase of the old multicultural Prague whose downfall he chronicles." —Robert Evans, Regius Professor of History, Oxford University
The Years of German Occupation, 1939-45: Memories and History, Terror and Resistance, Theater and Jazz, Film and Poetry, Politics and War