Memoirs with some good color as remembered when growing up German after World War I , through the Hitler era and World War II.
Teicher’s family was comfortable and not poverty stricken. His story of growing up when times were tough for everyone be today’s measurement. People shared housing, uncomfortable conditions. Families observed unusual social expectations and rules. Teicher’s story indicates he was always as valued as any child would have been during that era. Yet the etiquette required seems very strict. Even though there was employment, there was incredible deprivation because resource lack. Housing was not easy to get or afford.
As a youth, Teicher was included in the growing political activities for young people. He was an incredibly efficient, effective young person, Today his youth would amaze yet given responsibility for managing youth camps all over Germany.
More than the details of a family in Germany between the wars, Teicher’s book is not scandalous or written in a scintillating style, but simply chronicles his life in a compelling manner. While writing memories of activities of the time, this young man seems to have a less than enthusiastic opinion of the 3rd Reich. That lack of enthusiasm became intent on his own survival during combat in Italy as the war was ending. The attitude carried on with assertive entrepreneurial activity as a prisoner of Allied forces and a part of German society during recovery. Teicher was always active in little deals so he could earn on the side.
Memories of 20th Century German Life
As an avid reader and collector of literature, both fiction and nonfiction, featuring the Holocaust, I wanted to read the recollections of a common person in Germany. From tender childhood to venerable veteran and philosopher, Teicher dwells on moments in time, remains cheerfully vague about some activities, while offering detail about things he did to survive. One escapade involved avoiding Russian checks when he traveled into Dresden to visit his mother after WW II ended. His life may literally have depended upon the deceptions that he had to practice to get safely back into Frankfurt and Allied areas.
Written with Intent to Inform over Intent to Entertain
As an older man, Teicher was encouraged to tell his experiences. He does represent the common German citizen who lived and grew-up during some very trying times in German history. Thoughtful recall from the author’s earliest memories. Candid admitting that there are blank spots in his recall. These were times of incredible stress. It is not unusual for a person to blank out some of the times. When the author began the project he thought he would recall very little. As his work continued, the recollections increased to his pleasant surprise.
The author waxes philosophic toward the end of the book,. He tries to understand and explain changes and what was going on in the mind of an everyday person during that time. We can’t expect the same perceptions that we might have in our country today. We have great to speak out, no matter how tiresome others might find us. This is a relatively rare situation for people anywhere. Open expression certainly wasn’t a healthy practice in Nazi Germany nor in the 2-3 decades before Hitler came to power.
I perceived the book was written to inform more than to provide entertainment. We commend Teicher’s candor; he doesn’t tell finest details in some events, but he doesn’t kid either himself or his reader. Editing for market is almost a mystery. I have read other books in a similar style which are very popular and well received by the people who have the opportunity to read it.
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