Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945
By Marie Vassiltchikov
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780394757773, 368pp.)
Publication Date: June 12, 1988
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The secret diaries of a twenty-three-year-old White Russian princess who worked in the German Foreign Office from 1940 to 1944 and then as a nurse, these pages give us a unique picture of wartime life in that sector of German society from which the 20th of July Plot -- the conspiracy to kill Hitler -- was born.
"A skillful weaving of history, memoir, and autobiography...full of colorful characters...When she began writing in 1940, Missie, as she was called, was...concerned mainly with beaux and parties....By 1945 she has no more illusions. She has foraged for food....She has smelled the decaying flesh of corpses buried in the bombed ruins of Berlin and Vienna and lost some of her best friends." -- Washington Post Book World
"Neither a set of reflections flor a philippic, but a record ...The best eyewitness account we possess of the bombing of Berlin."
-- Gordon A. Craig, The New York Times Book Review
"A rare opportunity to see the Second World War from an unusual perspective: the view from Berlin and Vienna, not Washington or London. [The author] has a sharp eye and a witty tongue." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A vivid insider's view of Nazi Germany." -- Vanity Fair
"One of the most remarkable documents to come out of the war, and nothing will ever quite match its calm and grace in utterly hideous circumstances."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith