Book for January 2019
first published in 1947, was published in English in 2009. The novel is based on the true story of a working class husband and wife who, after their son was killed in the German attack on France, became part of the German Resistance against the Nazis. Otto and Elise Hampel (Otto and Anna Quangel in the novel) wrote and distributed hundreds of postcards with slogans like Mother! The Führer has murdered my son. Mother! The Führer will murder your sons too, he will not stop until he has brought sorrow to every home in the world.
The Quangels leave their cards in public places or buildings where they would be seen by passers by. However, most who see them are terrified and if they do not run away turn them in to the Gestapo. The Gestapo inspector entrusted with the case, Escherich, is not the proverbial thug but a trained police detective who focusses on 'solving the case' while resenting the political appointees he has to take his orders from. Eventually the Quangels are arrested and brought to trial at the Volksgerichtshof, the infamous Roland Freisler presiding. Both of the accused are sentenced to death, Otto is soon executed, Anna dies during an Allied bombing raid while still on death row.
Various adaptations for televion and film were made in both West and East Germany and the Czeck Republic. The British/French/German Film Alone in Berlin, directed by Vincent Perez, was released in 2016.
Hans Fallada (born Rudolf Wilhelm Friedrich Ditzen; 21 July 1893 – 5 February 1947) was a German writer who became successful during the Weimar Republic. His more famous novels include Little Man, What Now? (1932) and Alone in Berlin (Jeder stirbt für sich allein) (1947). His works belong predominantly to the New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit) movement that arose in German art during the 1920s as a reaction against expressionism. The pseudonym Hans Fallada derives from a combination of characters found in Grimm's Fairy Tales: the protagonist of Hans in Luck and a horse named Falada in The Goose Girl.