Reflections in an Oval Mirror
Memories of East Prussia, 1923-45
by Anneli Jones
8th May 1945 - VE Day - was Anneliese Wiemer's twenty-second birthday. Although she did not know it then, it marked the end of her flight to the West, and the start of a new life in England.
These illustrated memoirs, based on a diary kept during the Third Reich and letters rediscovered many decades later, depict the momentous changes occurring in Europe against a back-cloth of everyday farm life in East Prussia (now the north-western corner of Russia, sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland).
The political developments of the 1930s (including the Hitler Youth, 'Kristallnacht', political education, labour service, war service, and interrogation) are all the more poignant for being told from the viewpoint of a romantic young girl. In lighter moments she also describes student life in Vienna and Prague, and her friendship with Belgian and Soviet prisoners of war.
Finally, however, the approach of the Red Army forces her to abandon her home and flee, encountering en route a cross-section of society ranging from a 'lady of the manor', worried about her family silver, to some concentration camp inmates.
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