The Students of Berlin
DIE STUDENTEN VON BERLIN, that is the major contemporary novel about the end of the Second World War and the early years of post-war days, the novel about the emergence and development of two German states, about new departures and restoration, about visions, illusions and disappointments. A book that helps us to understand how post-war Germany emerged and why it developed as it did.
To begin with there’s a portrait of six young people who couldn’t be more different to one another: from the spoilt pupil Monika to two resistance fighters driven by different ambitions, one lieutenant, one lance-corporal convinced of final victory, to 17-year-old Jutta who loses her father during the attacks on Dresden. Dieter Meichsner vividly tells of the final months of war: of the nights of bombing, of captivity and homecoming, of the taking of Berlin by the Red Army soldiers initially welcomed as liberators and soon feared, of the laborious day-to-day existence with its illegal dealings.
The individual lives connect when the war is over and the young people take up their studies at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Disgusted by the increasing spread of uniformity in the teaching in the east, they soon turn their backs and, along with fellow students and professors move on to be present at the setting up of the Freie University in the western part of Berlin.
A generation wanting to take life into their own hands, free of restrictions and suppression, lands in the midst of events surrounding the divide between East and West, with all its intrigues, denouncements, and lost illusions.
Dieter Meichsner holds all the threads of the plot firmly in his hand: convincingly and well-considered he directs and combines the fates of the individuals into an extraordinarily exciting, rousing story.
paperback – dtv
Previously published (rights reverted)
book club – Büchergilde Gutenberg
»As a written contemporary document with a fantastic love of truth, the book deserves the highest of recognition in Germany and abroad.«
Welt am Sonntag
»DIE STUDENTEN VON BERLIN - read this book!«
»A great novel is to be rediscovered, a novel not only telling the story of the founding of the Free University Berlin as thrilling as a political crimestory, but also giving unique evidence of how life in Berlin was immediately after the Second World War.«
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
»How Dieter Meichsner masterly succeeds with his book is very unusual: He provides the reader with a feeling for how the first post-war generation in Germany lived, felt and acted. A highly infectious document that leaves you breathless.«
»DIE STUDENTEN VON BERLIN is a passage through our ›Trümmerjahre‹ and our futile dreams – highly welcome now after reunification where time would like to seal up everything that once happened. A stroke of genius.«
Büchergilde: magazin, Wilfried F. Schoeller