Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gretel Mahoney - Mrs Mahoney's Secret War

There are not too many books about life in Nazi Germany written from the perspective of an ordinary German.

Recent books such as 'Hitler's Willing Executioners' expressed the extent of collaboration between ordinary German citizens and the Nazi agenda.

Mrs Mahoney's Secret War is a fascinating glimpse into life in Nazi Germany -  from the perspective of a German who dislike the Nazi regime.

Gretel Mahoney's story is very readable and fascinating. You get a real feel for her character - not a saint or resistance hero - but someone who saw through the Fascist propaganda and was able to resist in small ways.

She tells of how she came to hate the Nazi Regime. Firstly her socialist grandfather was a principled and staunch critic of the Nazi's - even when the stormtroopers would come to terrorize the neighbourhood. Gretel then tells of how she saw the increased victimisation and persecution of her Jewish friends. For Gretel, Kristallnacht in 1938, was a painful realisation of the extent to which the Nazi's went to persecute the Jewish population of Germany. The loss of her Jewish friend Lydia was a key factor in cementing her hatred of the Nazi's.

Gretel comes across as both carefree and willful. She found it difficult to keep her mouth closed and often walked on a thin border of risking arrest.

A particularly interesting chapter was the occasion when the Bomb plot to Hitler played out. At first, there was real uncertainty about what had happened. To see everything from her perspective was quite interesting.

In the end, Gretel was arrested and placed in a camp, where she survived the war. After the war, she met a British officer, who was posted to Hamburg. They eventually got married and Gretel moved to England.

The book is an interesting insight into life in Nazi Germany - it shows the daily dilemma's faced by those living in Nazi Germany but opposed to the Nazi ideology. It is also an interesting insight into the personality of Gretel Mahoney - an unlikely hero, but someone who could see through the Nazi propaganda.

Book Cover Mrs Mahoney's Secret War at Mrs Mahoney's Secret War at

No comments: