Saturday, August 04, 2012
I have already been to Berlin, about ten years ago when I was researching for my book about Alfred Wegener.
I am revisiting the city again now - this time only in my imagination. It is a slightly different era - the second world war - but I think I am getting a very good impression of the place it was by immersing myself in memoirs: The Berlin Diaries of Marie 'Missie' Vassiltchikov (already read), The Past is Myself by Christabel Bielenberg (Kindle), and A different Kind of Courage - the memoir of Gretel Wachtel
(these written by women of three different nationalities: Russian, English, and German, and the last is based in Hamburg); a novel: Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada and a non-fiction book: Berlin at War by Roger Moorhouse.
I am supplementing the written word with a couple of films: Valkyrie directed by Bryan Singer
and, I hope, Downfall directed by Oliver Hirschblegel.
I keep seeing similarities between other places and other times - each dominated by charismatic megalomaniacs - and wonder how they came to not only rule but attract a nation of devoted acolytes.