After her father, a fighter pilot in the Luftwaffe, was killed during a mission over the south coast of England, Gabrielle Robinson found a loving home with her grandparents. Her grandfather, known to her as Api, was a doctor: a kind, gentle man who taught her Latin and built kites with her. Fifty years after his death, Gabrielle discovered a diary that Api had kept in 1945 when he worked in overcrowded medical cellars a stone's throw from the Reichstag in Berlin. The diary not only revealed the horrors of the fall of Berlin, it also revealed that Api had been a Nazi. In The Reluctant Nazi Gabrielle shares her grandfather's harrowing account of what it was like to live in Berlin as Hitler's Reich collapsed - the bombing, the hunger and homelessness, and later the threat of retribution from the occupiers. She follows his day-by-day struggle to help the sick and dying, to survive himself and shake off the stigma of being a Nazi Party member. Alongside this, Gabrielle deals with her own reaction to Api's Party membership, raising disturbing questions about political responsibility and the far-reaching aftershocks of the Second World War. In this moving and provocative book, Gabrielle offers a first-hand and personal perspective on the history of that time and her own inconvenient past.
The History Press
Searching for my Grandfather