Editor's choice and review Notre Dame Review Spring 2013

 

Gabrielle Robinson,The Reluctant Nazi: Searching for my Grandfather. The History Press, 2012.

NDR published a chapter from this fascinatingand moving memoir. Doing somefamily research, Robinson discovers

that her beloved grandfather wasa member of the Nazi Party. “As Iworked my way through the diaries,

an abbreviation kept appearing moreand more frequently. They were twoletters: ‘Pg.’ From dim memories

I recalled that this may, no, mustmean ‘Parteigenossen,’ ‘Party Members.’ Surely not my grandfather?

I had not known this. It had neverbeen mentioned in my family.” Robinson’s account of the war years, and

the horrors of living in bombed-outruins immediately after, are riveting.

She sets herself a difficult task, morally, ethically, and aesthetically. Herbook adds to our slowly accumu-

lating knowledge of what the warlooked like from “the other side,”and takes its place beside books

like W.G. Sebald’s On the NaturalHistory of Destruction and AntonyBeevor’s The Fall of Berlin 1945.

A memoir I did not want to write. The Reluctant Nazi uses my grandfather's diary in Berlin 1945 interwoven with my own memories and reflections.
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