A Woman in Berlin


A Woman in Berlin (German: Eine Frau in Berlin) (1959/2003) is an anonymous memoir by a German woman, revealed in 2003 to be journalist Marta Hillers. It covers the weeks from 20 April to 22 June 1945, during the capture of Berlin and its occupation by the Red Army. The writer describes the widespread rapes by Soviet soldiers, including her own, and the women's pragmatic approach to survival, often taking Soviet officers for protection. The first English edition appeared 1954 in the United States, where it was very successful, and was followed rapidly by translations into Dutch, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish and Japanese. When finally published in German in 1959, the book was either "ignored or reviled" in Germany. The author refused to have another edition published in her lifetime. In 2003, two years after Hiller's death, a new edition of the book was published in Germany, again anonymously. It met with wide critical acclaim and was on bestseller lists for more than 19 weeks. Jens Bisky, a German literary editor, identified the anonymous author that year as German journalist Marta Hillers, who had died in 2001. This revelation caused a literary controversy, and questions of the book's authenticity were explored. The book was published again in English in 2005 in editions in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has been translated into seven other languages. The book was adapted as a 2008 German feature film, directed by Max Färberböck and starring Nina Hoss. It was released in the United States as A Woman in Berlin in 2008.
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original title: Eine Frau in Berlin
language: German
date of publication: 1954
genre: autobiography


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