Cathy Hogan

alone in berlin

Otto and Anna Quangel are an ordinary German couple living in Berlin in 1940. One day they receive a letter stating their son has been killed fighting on the frontlines. Hating the Nazis and struck by grief and rage, they embark on tiny but very dangerous acts of resistance: leaving anonymous anti-Hitler postcards in stairwells and public places around the city. A police inspector on their trail uses flags on a city map showing the whereabouts of cards handed in to the authorities to calculate where the culprit might live.

Part of the story’s potency lies in the fact that this is a kind of resistance that anyone can imagine carrying out, however timid, however lonely, however secretly convinced that its effects are likely to be minimal. By focusing in on the detail, it is clear that no matter how small the rebellion, it doesn’t make it any less admirable.

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