Read The Last Jews in Berlin by Leonard Gross Free Online
Book Title: The Last Jews in Berlin|
The author of the book: Leonard Gross
Edition: Simon & Schuster
Date of issue: January 1st 1982
ISBN 13: 9780671247270
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 527 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1105 times
Reader ratings: 6.9
Read full description of the books:
Sometimes you have to wonder what exactly it is editors do to earn their keep. To my mind this book suffers from a very bad editorial decision. The material is organised in such a way that a lot of the reader’s intimacy with the characters is lost.
The title tells the story. It’s the story of several Jewish individuals trying to elude the Gestapo in Berlin. The problem is, just as you start getting emotionally involved with one character, the narrative switches to another story. And so on and so forth. When, several chapters later, you’re returned to the first character you’ve forgotten who he is. I can’t help feeling this would have been a much more gripping and moving book had the author been allowed to write each story consecutively from beginning to end instead of the rather crazy idea of fragmenting the book to a chronological imperative. We all have a basic idea now of the timeline of events in WW2 so I never understood what purpose was served by jumping abruptly from one narrative to another.
I did learn some fascinating facts. That Jews were offered their freedom if they betrayed ten other Jews and then became what were known as “catchers”. That Catholics were terrified they would be next, after the Jews, and so were more willing to help Jews. And that so many German citizens were willing to put their lives at risk often to help complete strangers. Of course you can’t help asking yourself how you yourself would have behaved in such a situation. I’m ashamed to say I found it hard to believe I would put my family at risk to shelter people I didn’t know. It’s rather like asking yourself if you’d take a migrant family into your home but with the added risk of knowing you’d be deported or killed if your act of charity were discovered by the authorities. The ordinary Germans were in an awful situation and this book allows you to sympathise a little with their plight. It also makes you realise that some people are simply destined to survive – because to survive as a Jew in Berlin you needed not just one stroke of good fortune but an unbroken continuity of almost miraculous good fortune. There’s much that’s heartwarming here; it’s just a shame the material was organised so clumsily. 3.5 stars.
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