"Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly" : A report on the collapse of Hitler's "Thousand Years" written and photographed by Margaret Bourke-White
New York : Simon and Schuster, 1946. First Edition. Hardcover. 175 pages ; photographic illustrations ; 21 cm. Tattered $3.00 dust jacket. Pages are age toned and unmarked and binding is firm.
One hundred and twenty-eight photographs, with detailed captions, form an integral part of Margaret Bourke-White's report on conquered Germany.
THIS IS the story of the search for "Faceless Fritz"—the most difficult and frightening cam-era-hunt ever undertaken by ace photographer-reporter Margaret Bourke-White. "Faceless Fritz" was cable shorthand for one of several LIFE assignments that brought Miss Bourke-White and her camera to Germany some months before its fall. She was to pin down the private German citizen—to find out what kind of human being it was who, multiplied by millions, made up the Nazi terror. Was he cruel? Was he a villain? Or was he the jolly, gemutlich, beer-drinking, music-loving sentimentalist so many of us remembered, who had really been helpless in the power of a small gang of madmen?
By the time Margaret Bourke-White arrived in Germany on this mission, she had seen much death and danger. She had been in Moscow during its fiercest bombings. In Italy, she had come closer to the enemy lines than any American woman before her. But it was in Germany that cold horror overtook her. It was not so much the crumbling, ruined cities, or the remnants of the Nazi death factories, or the snipers' bullets that whistled around her.
It was what the people said.
Margaret Bourke-White talked to and photographed innumerable Germans from once-mighty Nazi "Brains" to plain ("non-political"!) villagers and the mild-faced laborers who had grown docile from working for generations of the Krupp steel dynasty. She spoke to the Krupp heir, in his 177-room mansion. She spoke to a princess and a painter, to mothers of "fraternizing" daughters, to businessmen and petty officials, and naturalized American citizens who, having worked in and for Germany during the war, saw no reason why they shouldn't return to a comfortable life in the United States.
Her first shock came from Hildegarde Roselius, whom she had known and liked when the German girl was a brilliant student at the Columbia School of Journalism in New York. When Hildegarde, who was living with commendable cheerfulness in a cloakroom in the ruins of Bremen, started talking about Hitler, Margaret Bourke-White simply could not believe that she was hearing straight.
The Germany that Miss Bourke-White saw and recorded in this book puts to shame Dali's most grotesque nightmares. It is a physical and spiritual chamber of horrors, a cuckoo-cloud land whose inhabitants live in a lost dream. They are people whose faces are as usual and recognizable as one's neighbors', but whose reactions do not seem to make sense.
"Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly' takes its title from the words of the anthem, "Die Wacht am Rhein," to which German soldiers have marched three times in the memory of many now living. It brings new light to bear on the German people —in the hope that through a more immediate understanding of them a fourth march may be averted.
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