Break Through! A German Soldier’s Account of War in the Low Countries and
There are many eye-witness accounts of the military disaster that led to the fall of France, 1940, from the Allied point of view. For a look at the experiences of the common German soldier, there is no better source than Tanks Break Through! written by Alfred-Ingemar Berndt, a journalist and close associate of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. When the 1940 attack was in the offing, Berndt joined the Wehrmacht and afterward published his recollections. Berndt’s memoir is a tale of German military prowess, valor and violent death, a Teutonic Iliad. His prose is often thrilling and brings to mind Woody Allen’s remark, “I just can't listen to any more Wagner. I'm starting to get the urge to conquer Poland.” Hitler sensed French weakness and unwillingness to fight. Berndt writes of the formidable foe the French faced.
Wartime Sites in Paris: 1939-1945
Paris, the City of Light, is the most popular tourist destination in Europe. Celebrated in painting, literature, film, and song, Paris never ceases to delight its millions of visitors. This book is a guide to historical sites in Paris associated with the Second World War, which official French histories call La Guerre 39-45. Understandably, the dark years of the German Occupation are a time the French prefer not to remember at all. Why should they? Would anyone expect them to put a plaque on the former Gestapo headquarters at 74, avenue Foch or 9, rue des Saussaies? As the Resistance developed, screams from the interrogation rooms kept neighbors awake at night. But these places, all described here, are harrowing reminders, often unmarked, of a time of humiliation and privation, unspeakable cruelties and brutal murders, but also of heroism and hope.
"Lehrer is right that Paris, and France more generally, still has not fully come
to grips with its years of occupation and collaboration."
Else Ury (1877-1943) was a children's author murdered at Auschwitz. Her books are German literary classics. Steven Lehrer translated volumes 1-6 of the series.