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In the Shadow of Silence: From Hitler Youth to Allied Internment: A Young Woman's Story Oftruth and Denial

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As a naive young German student in the last months of World War II, Gertrud Baer faced a tough choice: working in an armament factory where she could be killed by bombs or toxic chemicals, or joining the Nazi secret police. She opted for the latter and went to work for the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), or Security Service, one of the most sinister organizations in the Nazi state As a naive young German student in the last months of World War II, Gertrud Baer faced a tough choice: working in an armament factory where she could be killed by bombs or toxic chemicals, or joining the Nazi secret police. She opted for the latter and went to work for the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), or Security Service, one of the most sinister organizations in the Nazi state. After the war, Baer was interned in Allied detention camps and later immigrated to Canada, where she became director of the Goethe Institute in Ottawa. Her wartime experiences provoked years of soul-searching about the responsibility of individual Germans in supporting the Nazis, culminating with In the Shadow of Silence. At the SD, Baer was tasked with spying on fellow students. A branch of Hitler's infamous Schutzstaffel (SS), or Protective Squad, the SD looked for the slightest hint of discontent or defeatism, which could land citizens in concentration camps or worse. Baer claims she joined over the protests of her father, himself an honourary member of the SS (his reason: her lack of "political smarts"). Some reviewers question how Baer could have possibly not known Hitler's aims. SD chief Reinhard Heydrich was the man who convened the conference where the Holocaust was planned. The SD also included the SS Einsatzgruppen, special units that rounded up and executed thousands of Jews, Slavs, and gypsies. Baer frequently returns to her theme that Germans have not fully acknowledged their responsibility for Hitler's crimes. "After the war," she writes, "the Hitler generation--das Volk--instantly and collectively repudiated any personal knowledge of, let alone involvement in, the crimes of the Third Reich." Baer's book is a start in reversing that lapse. --Alex Roslin


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As a naive young German student in the last months of World War II, Gertrud Baer faced a tough choice: working in an armament factory where she could be killed by bombs or toxic chemicals, or joining the Nazi secret police. She opted for the latter and went to work for the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), or Security Service, one of the most sinister organizations in the Nazi state As a naive young German student in the last months of World War II, Gertrud Baer faced a tough choice: working in an armament factory where she could be killed by bombs or toxic chemicals, or joining the Nazi secret police. She opted for the latter and went to work for the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), or Security Service, one of the most sinister organizations in the Nazi state. After the war, Baer was interned in Allied detention camps and later immigrated to Canada, where she became director of the Goethe Institute in Ottawa. Her wartime experiences provoked years of soul-searching about the responsibility of individual Germans in supporting the Nazis, culminating with In the Shadow of Silence. At the SD, Baer was tasked with spying on fellow students. A branch of Hitler's infamous Schutzstaffel (SS), or Protective Squad, the SD looked for the slightest hint of discontent or defeatism, which could land citizens in concentration camps or worse. Baer claims she joined over the protests of her father, himself an honourary member of the SS (his reason: her lack of "political smarts"). Some reviewers question how Baer could have possibly not known Hitler's aims. SD chief Reinhard Heydrich was the man who convened the conference where the Holocaust was planned. The SD also included the SS Einsatzgruppen, special units that rounded up and executed thousands of Jews, Slavs, and gypsies. Baer frequently returns to her theme that Germans have not fully acknowledged their responsibility for Hitler's crimes. "After the war," she writes, "the Hitler generation--das Volk--instantly and collectively repudiated any personal knowledge of, let alone involvement in, the crimes of the Third Reich." Baer's book is a start in reversing that lapse. --Alex Roslin

23 review for In the Shadow of Silence: From Hitler Youth to Allied Internment: A Young Woman's Story Oftruth and Denial

  1. 4 out of 5

    Yasmin

    If you can get past the first couple of chapters then you will be lucky! Apart from those few chapters about the author's life the book is worth a read. It does almost seem like two different writers contributed to it, she was better at digressions about her own involvement with the Hitler period and immediate afterwards. The title of the book is misleading, I mean yes don't judge a book by its cover and then again with this example don't judge a book by its title! If you can get past the first couple of chapters then you will be lucky! Apart from those few chapters about the author's life the book is worth a read. It does almost seem like two different writers contributed to it, she was better at digressions about her own involvement with the Hitler period and immediate afterwards. The title of the book is misleading, I mean yes don't judge a book by its cover and then again with this example don't judge a book by its title!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter Liepa

  3. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

  6. 5 out of 5

    Owen

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Anderson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jbondandrews

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Mckelvy

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Barker

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  15. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Moburg

  16. 5 out of 5

    TriCedratops

  17. 5 out of 5

    Madison Johnson

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alarice Hansberry

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chandel

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon St. Hilaire

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vlbayman

  22. 5 out of 5

    shamlin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Meeker

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