Travels in the Reich, 1933-1945

Foreign Authors Report from Germany

Edited by Oliver Lubrich

Travels in the Reich, 1933-1945

Edited by Oliver Lubrich

Translated by Kenneth J. Northcott, Sonia Wichmann, and Dean Krouk
336 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2010
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226006451 Published September 2012

“Even now,” wrote Christopher Isherwood in his Berlin Diary of 1933, “I can’t altogether believe that any of this has really happened.” Three years later, W. E. B. DuBois described Germany as “silent, nervous, suppressed; it speaks in whispers.” In contrast, a young John F. Kennedy, in the journal he kept on a German tour in 1937, wrote, “The Germans really are too good—it makes people gang against them for protection.”

Drawing on such published and unpublished accounts from writers and public figures visiting Germany, Travels in the Reich creates a chilling composite portrait of the reality of life under Hitler. Written in the moment by writers such as Virginia Woolf, Isak Dinesen, Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, William Shirer, Georges Simenon, and Albert Camus, the essays, letters, and articles gathered here offer fascinating insight into the range of responses to Nazi Germany. While some accounts betray a distressing naivete, overall what is striking is just how clearly many of the travelers understood the true situation—and the terrors to come.

Through the eyes of these visitors, Travels in the Reich offers a new perspective on the quotidian—yet so often horrifying—details of German life under Nazism, in accounts as gripping and well-written as a novel, but bearing all the weight of historical witness.

Journeys to the End of the Night, by Oliver Lubrich

About This Anthology 

Editorial Pointers


1933 to 1939

Christopher Isherwood     Goodbye to Berlin   

Georges Simenon     Hitler in the Elevator    

Annemarie Schwarzenbach     Why Could the Nazis Come?      

Martha Dodd     Hitler Needs a Woman    

Gunnar Ekelöf     The Sick Man of Europe      

Jean-Paul Sartre     A Sort of Simultaneity    

Martha Dodd     “Are You Still Alive?”—30 June 1934    

Max Frisch     The Miracle of Life    

Virginia Woolf     On the Rhine with Mitzi    

Konrad Warner     Harvest Festival, 1935    

Denis de Rougemont     The Dream of Sixty Million People    

Martha Dodd     A Party for Tom    

Thomas Wolfe     “I Have a Thing to Tell You”    

Albert Camus     Into the Bottomless Pit    

W.E.B. DuBois     Untitled    

Samuel Beckett     Uninterrupted HH    

Jean Genet     A Race of Thieves    

John F. Kennedy     Diary Excerpts    

Maria Leitner     A Visit to Heinrich Heine    

Shi Min     The Yellow Face    

Richard Hillary     Göring’s Cup    

William Shirer     A Demonstration against the War    

René Juvet     Kristallnacht—8 November 1938    

Heinrich Hauser     Berlin in the Summer of 1939    

1939 to 1945

William Shirer     Counterattack     

Sven Hedin     Audience    

Meinrad Inglin     Fevered German Dreams    

Sven Hedin     At Göring’s Table    

Karen Blixen     Half Moon and Swastika    

Howard K. Smith     The Germans’ Mood Swings    

Harry Flannery     In the Wild West Bar    

Howard K. Smith     Special Press Conference, 9 October 1941    

Jacques Chardonne     The Heaven of Nieflheim    

József Nyírö     The Enemy Is Listening!    

Howard K. Smith     At the Lion’s Tail    

Gösta Block     Don’t Throw Stones at the Pianist!    

Konrad Warner     In the Dying City    

René Juvet     “Tomorrow I Have to Go Back to the Camp”    

Konrad Warner     “Will Exchange Skillet for Picture of the Führer”    

Theo Findahl     Carpet Bombing    |

René Schindler     Leipzig Is Dead!    

Theo Findahl     The Sky Is Red   

Jacob Kronika     Children’s Games

Theo Findahl     Nineveh Is a Great City    

Jacob Kronika     “I Must Speak to the Führer”    

Theo Findahl     Crispbread from Stockholm    

Wiking Jerk     Twilight of the Gods    

Jacob Kronika     The Final Days    

Virginia Irwin     The First “Amerikanski” in Berlin    

Wiking Jerk     The Propaganda Minster’s Corpse    

Jacob Kronika     Cry for Vengeance    

Theo Findahl     Eighth of May 1945


Review Quotes
Times Higher Education

“Given the glut of books about Nazism that rehash familiar ground, Travels in the Reich achieves no mean feat in approaching the subject in a new way. . . [It] gives readers the rare opportunity to peer into Nazi Germany through the eyes of outsiders. . .  . The vivid descriptions in these reports convey a real sense of the contrasting atmospheres in which they were written. . . . Travels in the Reich sets out to inform us about day-to-day life in Germany between 1933 and 1945 and it is certainly successful in its mission.”


"A chilling and remarkable collection. . . . Essential. All academic and general readers."

Rick Atkinson, author of Day of Battle

"No single account of life inside Hitler’s Germany paints a more vivid landscape than Travels in the Reich. From Samuel Beckett to Virginia Woolf, the three dozen writers collected in this volume take us on a journey that is as compelling as it is disturbing. An important addition to the history of the Second World War."

History Today historytodaybooks blog
"A portrait of daily life in Germany under Hitler based on the accounts of writers and public figures, such as Virginia Woolf, Isak Dinesen, Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, who visited Germany in the years 1933-45."

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