Read What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?: Growing Up German by Sabine Reichel Free Online
Book Title: What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?: Growing Up German|
The author of the book: Sabine Reichel
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 12.30 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.1
Edition: Hill & Wang
Date of issue: April 1st 1989
ISBN 13: 9780809096855
Read full description of the books:
I was born in 1950. I absorbed knowledge of the Holocaust, and hatred of Germany, "with my mother's milk" so to speak. "The Berlin Wall should stay up for 1000 years," my mom would declare. When we traveled to Europe for my Dad's fullbright grant in 1956, we deliberately avoided setting foot in Germany. (As you might guess, we are Jewish.)
For the next 30 years whenever I met a German, there was this second of awkward silence. "How old are they?" I would think. "Were they old enough to be part of the 3rd reich?" I would only forgive Germans who were under a certain age, ones who might have been 10 years old during the Hitler years. Everything that Reichel says finds a mirror resonance in me. Even today, when my son wants to visit Germany during his trip to Europe, I have to bite my lip not to say something mean.
That's why I was so fascinated by this book. I had never seen this issue discussed anywhere. What actually happened in the heads of German people? I heard there was a high rate of suicide in postwar Germany. I hoped that all those murderers had been tormented by nightmares. I hoped that some kind of justice happened. I heard that in general, people just wanted to bury the whole thing.
Reading this book I wanted to shake the author's hand and even give her a hug for addressing this painful topic. She said she never met a Jew as a child, that she knew Jews only as corpses. I would like to have told her "I never met a German, I knew them only as killers".
My only disappointment was that she spent too much time on other issues, like psychoanalyzing her father and her love for American fashion. I thought that the whole book would deal with "the German question", with interviews of former Nazis, repentant and otherwise. What do they think about, remember, dream about? How do they live with themselves? Do they do a lot of drugs, feel any joy, suffer from impotence, feel any guilt? These are the burning questions in my mind. I guess I'll have to keep searching for more material.
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