Caroline Moorehead

Witnesses of the Persecution

Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism through the Eyes of Everyday People

By

Elliott & Thompson 456pp £20 order from our bookshop

Even as the ink was drying on the Versailles Treaty in 1919, foreigners began to return to the Germany they had so loved: the country of Goethe and Schiller, of picturesque villages and romantic forests. True, Germany had been impoverished by the war and its inhabitants were stunned by their losses and a sense of betrayal, but the sexual and cultural freedoms of the new Weimar Republic were exciting for those who felt oppressed by the unforgiving social mores of the English-speaking world. And the fact that some at least shared the Germans’ view that the treaty’s terms were unfairly harsh – Germany’s debt to the Allies stood at £6.6 billion, equivalent to £280 billion in 2013 – added a piquancy to their travels. Some, as Julia Boyd shows in her meticulously researched account of how the rise of the Nazis was perceived by foreign visitors, came to help the country rebuild itself, others to put behind them their own grey and sad war years, others still to rekindle links to people and places that long predated the war.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,