Book review: Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada


Every Man Dies AloneEvery Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From BBC Radio 4 – Classical Serial:
From the Novel by Hans Fallada. Dramatised for radio by Shelagh Stephenson

Primo Levi’s declaration that Alone in Berlin is “the greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis” is bold and unequivocal. English readers have had to wait 60 years to explore the 1947 novel in which Otto Quangel, a factory foreman (Ron Cook) and his wife Anna (Margot Leicester) believe themselves morally obliged to take on the full might of the Nazis.

When their son is killed “for Fuhrer and Fatherland”, the Quangels begin to write anonymous postcards, denouncing the war and the regime, and leave them on the stairwells of public buildings in Berlin. Over two years, the cards become their life. Trapped through a trivial mistake, by their nemesis, Inspector Escherich of the Gestapo (Tim McInnerny) they are put on trial for their lives, but find a strange freedom in a mocking defiance and then in a terrible silence.

Alone in Berlin is a grim but heroic story told with laconic determination by a man who lived through the war in Berlin. It is about the quiet moral triumph of a seemingly inconsequential couple – it points to a courage which lay in the hearts of most true Germans, if only angst and overwhelming fear hadn’t been allowed to gain the upper hand.

Cast:
Otto Quangel ….. Ron Cook
Anna Quangel ….. Margot Leicester
Escherich ….. Tim McInnerny
Trudel Bauman ….. Jasmine Hyde
Eva Kluge ….. Christine Kavanagh
Enno Kluge ….. Ian Bartholomew
Emil Borkhausen ….. Richard McCabe
Frau Rosenthal ….. Joanna Munroe
Inspector Rusch ….. John McAndrew
Judge Fromm ….. Andrew Sachs
Inspector Zott ….. Nickolas Grace
Inspector Prall ….. Sam Dale

Director: Eoin O’Callaghan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vvwq0

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