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On the other side
On the other side: letters to my children from Germany 1940-46 | Mathilde Wolff-Mnckeberg
11 posts | 7 read | 6 to read
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I am grateful that this book exists, and that its choice for #PersephoneClub led me to read it, if somewhat belatedly. It's not easy or comforting reading, especially at this particular moment, but I feel like it will stay with me for a long while.

Tamra I keep thinking about it. 3w
jlhammar Agree completely. So glad that Persephone republished this and that we were able to read it. 3w
Aimeesue A tough read, indeed. But an important one, that sticks with you. 3w
LeahBergen Yes, this one was tough. 💔 3w
65 likes5 comments
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Purchased in the famous blackwells in Oxford - fantastic place a must visit if your ever in Oxford the literary walking 🚶‍♀️ tours and book 📚 shopping not to be missed !
#blackwells #persephone
#oxford #oxfordbookshopping

LeahBergen Ooo! 😍 1mo
25 likes1 comment
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I will echo @LeahBergen comments abt how hard this was to read as the depiction of life in wartime seems to suggest that the world has learnt little over 80yrs. This series of letters written to her children by Tilli a woman living in hamburg 39-46, + discovered in the 70s is heart-rending, particularly when her + the city's ⬇️
#Persephoneclub @Cathythoughts @rubyslippersreads @quietjenn @CarolynM @elkeOriginal @jlhammar @Gissy @Aimeesue @Tamra

andrew61 Dislike of the regime and its treatment of Jewish people in the country and her family is clear. The afterword about the blanket bombing policy during the war and complete destruction of city's is disturbing. A remarkable piece of writing which I am glad I read entirely as a result of this group. 1mo
jlhammar Beautiful photo! I agree, remarkable and very glad to have read it. 1mo
batsy Love the photo! 1mo
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Tamra I‘m glad it was chosen too. I wouldn‘t have known about it otherwise. 1mo
Cathythoughts That is a beautiful photo. I still must read the book. 1mo
LeahBergen Great review, Andrew! I‘m so glad we read it, too. 1mo
Aimeesue Great review! I Hope to finish this soon, but I keep needing to step away from it. So much is directly relevant to what‘s going on today, so it gets overwhelming. Great writing, though! 1mo
Anna40 Great review! 1mo
40 likes2 stack adds8 comments
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In 1974 Ruth Evans found a manuscript package of letters that her mother had written in Germany in WW2: unsent letters to her adult children in far-flung areas of the world describing daily life in an upper middle class household in Hamburg.

This was a bit of a hard read at times (and especially with the current news) but I think it‘s an important eyewitness account from “the other side” about the ravages of war.


jlhammar It really was hard to read at times. I loved how they took comfort in literature and music whenever possible. I also appreciated how she realized and acknowledged their luck and advantages. 2mo
Tamra So glad Matilda decided to keep up with writing them and to save them. 2mo
LeahBergen @jlhammar Yes! I especially liked when they were reading that “exciting” Dorothy L. Sayers out loud at night. And Tilli always seemed to appreciate her advantages and then we hear from her daughter (in the afterword) how their food was inedible to her when she visited. 💔 It was very eye-opening to me as I don‘t think I‘ve ever read anything from a WW2 German woman‘s perspective before. 2mo
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LeahBergen @Tamra And to just stow them away and not ever tell her children about them. Imagine her daughters reading them in 1974? 😢 2mo
Cathythoughts Great review Leah ❤️💔. I havnt got to it yet … I‘m definitely going to be late with this one. X 2mo
LeahBergen @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! I hope all is well with you and you‘re enjoying lots of grandbaby time. 😘 2mo
CarolynM Lovely review. I‘m hoping to get to this one soon. 2mo
LeahBergen @CarolynM I took a few breaks from it to read other things. It‘s quite grim. 😬 2mo
Aimeesue Spot on. I have to keep stepping away for breaks too. Important read, though. 2mo
LeahBergen @Aimeesue Right? It‘s so heavy. 💔 2mo
andrew61 Great review, Leah. I have just finished it, and like you found it difficult given the current headlines, it is an interesting perspective on the blanket bombing policy of ww2. 2mo
LeahBergen @andrew61 Thanks, Andrew! I found the afterword really interesting as well about the changing attitudes towards these bombings. 1mo
Karons1 I purchased this one in Oxford 2 weeks ago and it‘s next to my bed 🛌 ready to go I‘m late reading it as Iv been stacked out ! Glad it‘s a goodie they don‘t disappoint do they ? But he‘s in current world events it‘s all too sadly familiar 1mo
LeahBergen @Karons1 Yes, that‘s true! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it. 😊 1mo
69 likes1 stack add14 comments
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This collection of unsent letters is a treasure. An absorbing account of daily life in Hamburg during WWII and its immediate aftermath. I love history and have read some about the wartime experiences of average German citizens (I‘ll tag some good ones in comments below), but these letters added something new, helping to bring that time and place into sharper focus.


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Tamra Thanks for the suggestions! 2mo
quietjenn Thank you for sharing other titles! 2mo
LeahBergen I‘m still only about halfway through. Thanks for the other titles to check out! 2mo
jlhammar @sisilia I just saw that you are reading this with us and realized I missed tagging you. 2mo
Aimeesue I‘m looking forward to starting this one tonight! 2mo
CarolynM Great review. I hope to get started soon. 2mo
62 likes10 comments
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Ooof 😣 This is either exactly the right time to read this raw personal account of the war years in Germany or exactly the wrong time.

Tilli‘s letters encapsulate all of the human and inhuman complexities of war. I have no more words - just feelings all over the place. #Persephoneclub

LeahBergen I‘m feeling the same way as I read it. 2mo
Tamra @LeahBergen heavy, very heavy. 2mo
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This selection is taking on an even more depressing aspect given the current state of affairs in Ukraine & Israel. I‘m feeling rather pessimistic about human progress. #Persephoneclub

Ruthiella Yes, me too. ☹️ 2mo
LeahBergen I‘ve been thinking that, too. 😞 2mo
jlhammar Same. Hoping to devote some time to this book tomorrow. 2mo
45 likes3 comments
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Most of the #Persephone books I have read are set in Britain and between #PersephoneClub and #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub I feel we have read a good number of WW2 novels set in the UK. So I was interested to see Persephone published this title of a German woman‘s letters during the war and am excited to dive in with the group read. Afterward, maybe I will finally tackle the fatty in this pic that is a British staple of the war as well: Few Eggs 🥚🍊

jlhammar Really excited for this one! It's in my stack for the week ahead. 2mo
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quietjenn I feel the same, for similar reasons! I made it about halfway through Eggs, may need to give it another go soon. It's good, but it's a *lot*! 2mo
LeahBergen I‘m really enjoying reading about the German point of view in this one. 👍 2mo
CarolynM Hoping to get started soon🙂 2mo
Cathythoughts I hope to start soon too X 2mo
rubyslippersreads I have Few Eggs, but haven‘t read it yet. 🥚🍊 2mo
elkeOriginal @quietjenn Eggs is such a chunkster! Plus all that detail. Feels like the definition of ‘a lot‘ 🫣 (edited) 2mo
elkeOriginal @LeahBergen Even the preface had me hooked - author has such an interesting background! 2mo
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It‘s now October so that means it‘s time for one of our #PersephoneClub reads!

@elkeOriginal ‘s pick for us this month is On the Other Side by Mathilde Wolff-Mönckeberg. This is a casual buddy read; read and comment on each other‘s posts and reviews as you see them. We usually aim to finish by the middle of the month but that‘s not written in stone. ? And anyone is welcome to read along with us, of course!

andrew61 Looking forward to it leah. I don't think it was my recommendation, I think I chose Helen Thomas but whoever did choose this it looks really interesting. 2mo
Cathythoughts Thanks Leah X Ill get my copy down now. Must finish the book I‘m reading first and then I‘ll dive into our Persephone 👍🏻❤️ 2mo
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CarolynM Thanks Leah. I‘m hoping to join in with this one🙂 2mo
Tamra I have it down off the shelf! 😃 (edited) 2mo
jlhammar @andrew61 I think it may have been Elke‘s pick. 2mo
jlhammar Hoping to start it later this week. Can‘t wait! 2mo
quietjenn This should be a really interesting one! 2mo
LeahBergen @andrew61 @jlhammar You‘re correct, it is @elkeOriginal pick! So sorry. That‘s what I get for trying to get ahead of things by writing a midnight post, I guess. 😆😆 I‘ll do an edit. 2mo
LeahBergen @Cathythoughts Great, Cathy! ❤️ 2mo
LeahBergen @CarolynM oh, good! ❤️ 2mo
LeahBergen @Tamra Me, too! 😆 2mo
LeahBergen @jlhammar Me, too! ❤️ 2mo
LeahBergen @quietjenn It‘s a bit of a different sort of Persephone, isn‘t it? I‘m looking forward to it! 2mo
rubyslippersreads I‘m going to pass on this one. To borrow a great phrase from @tamra , I‘m overbooked this month. 😊 2mo
LeahBergen @rubyslippersreads I hear you! 😆 2mo
Karons1 Hi fellow persephone bookies 😀🫶🏻im on the fence with This still undecided 🤷‍♀️ whether to order it or pick it up in hatchards in Piccadilly at the end of the month ; I‘d be interested to see what you make of it , seems to have mixed reviews . Happy 😃 reading 📖 2mo
LeahBergen @Karons1 I‘m enjoying it a lot so far but only reading it in small doses (due to the recent horrors in Israel and Gaza 😢). 2mo
44 likes1 stack add18 comments
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I really appreciated this fascinating (tho fairly narrow) account of an anti-Nazi German woman living through WW2. In letters to her children, she recounts the cold winters, lack of food and fuel, and the bombing of Hamburg. I found it off-putting that there was only brief mention of concentration camps and their victims, but the letters written in the post-war months, trying to reconcile a way forward for Germany and its citizens, were powerful.

Ruthiella Nice photo! 🤩 2y
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Inspired by brilliant book ideas on #Litsy, I ordered these from Persephone - they‘re obviously going to be fascinating reads, and they‘re so beautifully made!

BarbaraBB 😍😍 They are gorgeous! 5y
Severnmeadows @BarbaraBB yes😊 and the bookmarks too! 5y
BarbaraBB When I buy them (by BookDepository) I never receive any bookmarks. How do you get them? 5y
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Severnmeadows @BarbaraBB I bought them direct from www.persephonebooks.co.uk 5y
BarbaraBB Aha! You have to buy them! I didn‘t know that ☺️ 5y
Severnmeadows @BarbaraBB So sorry- I wasn‘t being clear, I bought the books from Persephone, and the bookmarks were in the books, a nice surprise😊 5y
BarbaraBB That‘s probably the difference - I buy them at BookDepository. I must change that! 5y
30 likes7 comments