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Walls: Resisting the Third Reich- One Woman's Story Paperback – April 30, 1993
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"A fine adventure story and a good inspirational tale. . . . When so many of us seem crippled by the numbness we see in our society, Walls reminds us of the power of individual conscience." —The Nation
"I recommend Walls to everyone . . . as both an inspiration and a warning." —Ms. Magazine
"The suspenseful and dramatic story of one courageous woman's bold deception of the Gestapo." —Book-of-the-Month Club News
"Dr. Zassenhaus . . . has written a breath-taking account of her undercover work among prisoners scattered all over Germany." —Horn Book
From the Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
Her first act of resistance was to refuse to give the Nazi salute every morning in school.
She graduated from Hamburg University with a degree in Scandinavian languages. This was a very rare degree and she was drafted to be a postal censor reading the mail between the Ghettos and Scandinavia. Rather than destroy letters with forbidden content, she found another way to send them on to Scandinavia. In particular whe was supposed to censor any requests for food. In fact shed did the opposite and added requests for food to many letters.
Later, Norwegian and Danish prisoners convicted of resisting the Third Reich were imprisoned in Hamburg. Hiltgunt was assigned to monitor the prison visits of a minister to the prisoners. structions were to prevent spiritual guidance and prayer (a rule she broke on the very first visit.) She ended up smuggling food and vitamins to the prisoners on every visit.
How could a young woman risk her life constantly in order to perform these acts of kindness in the midst of the insanity of WW2 and the destruction of her home town? Ultimately, she was responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of Norwegian and Danish prisoners.
Growing up in Germany, Hiltgunt grew and matured at the same time as the Nazi party. Raised in a family with no love for the Nazis, she was constantly aware of their danger.
After getting her degree in scandanavian languages, she was eventually picked (being the only one in the new Germany with one) to be the interpreter for scandanavian political prisoners. With this unique post, Hiltgunt could basically do things the way she wanted, bringing hope and health to these uncared for people.
She describes a country racked with fear of their leader, doing Hitler's will just to stay alive and avoid the Gestopo. In more than one instance, she had a run-in with the Gestapo herself. Amazingly enough, she was allowed to continue what she was doing, as long as she "reported" on Nazi resisters, not knowing that she herself was one. After questioning her again, they miraculously released her once more!
One of the best things about Hiltgunt, is her ability to look back and not praise herself, but humble herself and recognize how selfish she was in trying to survive. Nominated for the 1974 Nobel Peace Prize, I'm only now wanting to learn who could have won it after a story like this.
I would unquestionably reccomend this book to anyone wanting to understand more of World War 2.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My grandmother was good friends with Dr. Zassenhaus. She was extremely intelligent, incredibly kind, and always had a story to tell. Her best story being the one in this book. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sean
Walls arrived safely and in good order. I enjoyed reading the book, H.Z. was a woman of integrity and courage.Published 16 months ago by Olav L. Sommer
If you are even remotely looking for a book with BODY & Maturity & Informative, PASS this one up ! After reading at least 180 pgs. I had to give up . Read morePublished on December 29, 2011 by forrest c posey