A War Through The Generations review.
Berlin Diaries 1940-1945 by Marie Vassiltchikov.
A very interesting read. I kept thinking of what we know now about what was happening in Germany during that time and what Missie knew then. This is a wonderfully clear, direct and honest book.
Marie “Missie” Vassilchikov, a member of the Russian aristocracy, left her country in 1919 and lived in Germany, France and Lithuania. At the start of World War II she found herself in Germany, with her sister Tatiana. The rest family was scattered and the sisters found themselves desperately in need of work. Missie’s language abilities won her a minor position in the German Foreign Office. At first, she and her friends lived well, among the wealthier class, joining an endless round of parties, country weekend and champagne suppers. From this relatively protected position Missie observed life and kept a detailed diary.
Around her the country dissolved into poverty, privation, and death. Her family was shattered. Friends were shot out of the sky or killed in battle, Allied saturation bombing rained destruction on German cities. Her diaries become a chronicle of ever growing horror. She records the daily events and human responses that make up life in wartime. She begins to drops hints of a dangerous secret, a developing conspiracy involving some of the closest friend, a plot to overthrow the Nazi high command and to assassinate Adolph Hitler. In the aftermath of the failed plan many of her friends are arrested, tortured and executed.
Missie writes of discovering the dangers around her, of friends trying to protect each other and of the terrible losses they suffered at the hands of the the Nazis. She writes of her escape from Berlin and the struggles to get through till the end of the war. It’s a different perspective and one that, I feel, is worth reading.