3 out of 4 stars
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In 1947, shortly after Germany lost WWII, America took occupation of all German territories. At this time, Dorothy and Eric Stillman were celebrating their honeymoon. As Jewish newlyweds, they were none too pleased to be informed that Eric was to return to the American army only to be stationed in post-war Nazi Germany. As his dependent, Dorothy was to join him there shortly after he arrived.
Dorothy retells her story from when she embarked for Germany, up until the point that she and her husband were to return to the United States. She divulges secrets about her neighbours, she paints a picture of the devastation caused by war, and mostly, she simply speaks of the life of an army wife during the two years of their stay.
And we Never Met a Nazi was written by Rose Tuchmann. The events in this book are experiences that she went through when her husband, Ernst, served in the Army of Occupation. The book is a gossipy version of happenings among the people that were stationed in Germany during that time. Upon her death, her nephew found this manuscript and retyped it for publishing purposes.
The thing that makes this story most appealing is its authenticity. Even though the names have been changed, the incidents that occurred were real. The story was written during that time, and because of this, nothing was censored as it may have been if written today. Germans that had occupations before the war became maids and servants after the war. The Germans were considered inferior and were treated as such. Even though this made me feel slightly uncomfortable at times, it added to the legitimacy of the story. It was just what happened.
The book's lack of editing lets it down. I started reading this book with an open mind regarding grammar, knowing that the author had written it many years ago. However, I doubt that the book was even proofread. Missing spaces between words, line breaks mid-sentence, and general spelling errors throughout could have been quite easily rectified by a proofread. The errors aren’t debilitating, they are just copious.
Rose Tuchmann had a knack for storytelling. I can imagine how enjoyable it would have been to read this book as one of her family members. Although simple, her anecdotes were very entertaining and had qualities reminiscent of a soap opera. As someone that didn’t know her, I was just as intrigued as to what would happen next. It was a genuinely fun read, and during that time, I can’t imagine anything being considered ‘fun’.
Because of the errors, I am prevented from rating this book any more than 3 out of 4 stars. It was a quick read that I would recommend to people that enjoy books about WWII. This is a bit of a different angle as it was post-war - but just as enjoyable. The title gives the hint that, while in Germany, Dorothy and her husband met many local people, all of whom were very vocal about the fact that they were not Nazis. The abhorrent things that the party did were actions that most local people didn’t want to be associated with. But Dorothy, in her wisdom, was able to determine the good eggs from the bad. She was truly quite a character.
And We Never Met A Nazi
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