This video is called Auschwitz Birkenau Death Camp.
By John Green in Britain:
Flags In Berlin: An Account Of Life In Berlin 1928-1945
by Biddy Youngday
Sunday 25 November 2012
How easy it is to incite racist behaviour by successfully portraying certain of our fellow human beings as “Untermenschen” – sub-human – and scapegoating them for society’s problems.
Britain did it with its colonial peoples, the US with the Vietnamese and the Israelis with the Palestinians. Biddy Youngday illustrates here how the nazis did it with the Slavs, Jews and Gypsies. We never seem to learn.
Youngday was an upper-middle class Anglo-Irish girl who studied art at the Slade and took herself off on a learning trip through Europe, ending up in Berlin towards the end of the 1920s.
There she met other young artists from the Bauhaus group, including Peter Peri, and married a young communist photographer.
They married and had two children just as Hitler came to power and this book is her retrospective diary of those years, written in the 1950s, but only now published.
It has no literary aspiration in the sense that Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin did but it is a fascinating history of everyday life experienced first hand.
She documents vividly how her friends and neighbours rapidly accept – enthusiastically or reluctantly – the fascists’ rise to power. She and her husband continue to work clandestinely for the Communist Party but once her two girls are born Biddy is forced to take a back seat. Her husband, Willy, is captured only a year before the end of the war and is guillotined by the Gestapo.
The deprivations of the war years in Berlin – continuous bombardment and shortages of everything, make life a nightmare of desperate survival for a lone mother with two small children.
She describes the relief she experiences with the arrival of the Red Army and, despite everything that has been said elsewhere about mass rape and pillage, she relates her experiences with Soviet soldiers of a totally different nature.
The book has a very tragic coda once she returns to Britain. Her traumatic experiences in nazi Germany during the war so damaged her that she suffered a nervous breakdown and persecution mania and was confined to a mental institution for over a year.
In the epilogue, however, we read that she returned to lead a normal and full life, first in the Communist Party and then in the Labour Party in her local West London community. She died in 1987.
Copies of the book, price £7, are available from Doctor Clare Lowy, 44A Rosemont Road, London W3 9LY.
- Wolves close in on Berlin after more than a century (sott.net)
- Vegan Thanksgiving in Kreuzberg (myberlinstory.com)
- UK historian Eric Hobsbawm dead, 95 (bigpondnews.com)