As I read this book, I am repeatedly struck with how apt the words of the characters in 1930’s Germany could apply today by changing the country and political parties. The book is written in 2019 so one would have to draw one’s own conclusions on how concidental the remarks are.
p15 (1929) “Mildred knew that Germany was not perfect, that like the United State it grappled with various economic, political, and social problems….” Mildred is an American, married to a German national and has joined her husband in Germany. (She and her husband are based upon real people.) Mildred is studying for a doctorate in American literature and is trying to find a job as a professor at a time when the Nazi’s are coming to power.
p42-43 (Oct 1930) “People are struggling,” Sara replied…..”They can’t find work and they’re afraid of what the future holds.” Sara is Jewish and a student of Mildred’s. Sara’s family is well off–her father is a banker. Her brother Natan is a reporter and an editor for an important Berlin newspaper. They hope that their relative wealth and generations of being German will keep them safe in the future.
Natan’s response to Sara, “Then comes along this loud, angry man promising to take them back to a mythical golden age of prosperity, swearing to punish Germany’s enemies for wrongdoing them. Some peple respond to that–in this case, vast numbers of people.”
p50 “Women and Jews–what threat do we pose to those men, that they call for our deaths?” Amalie, Sara’s sister, and married to well-off Christian who is an officer in the Wehrmacht, is lamenting what has happened in public after the “results of September 14 election had stunned everyone–except perhaps the leader of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, an Austrian named Adolph Hitler. ”
Following the election, there was a riot in Berlin. p52, “..(N)one of the roughly 300 protesters had been arrested, less surprised to read that most of the windows broken had belonged to businesses owned by Jews.”
“And though there was not a word of truth to it, the National Socialist press spread the rumor that the Communists had started the riot. They proclaimed the lie so often and so emphatically that those who had not seen the riot for themselves could not distinguish truth from falsehood.”
p63 (1931), Dr. Kienle, a prominent female gynocologist, tries unsuccessfully to give a speech in Marburg, The Nazi brownshirts disrupt her speech by proclaiming a woman’s role “Kinder, Kirche Kuche!”–Children, church, kitchen. “Mildred knew then that outspoken, independent women made up one more class of undesirables that must be suppressed if the Nazis were to remake Germany in their own image.”
p189 (1933) “Rational people,” said Mildred. “People who act out of decency, compassion, and respect for the rule of law rather than hatred and fear. That is the real Germany, not that frenzy of lies we saw yesterday.”