Towards the very end of her life, in 1997, Marie Jalowicz Simon, a highly respected East German philosopher and philologist, began to talk for the first time about her life as a young Jewish woman who managed to survive the war by going underground in Nazi Berlin. Her son Hermann recorded 77 tapes of her account, whose details of people, places and dates are not only remarkably accurate but also sharp and immediate, as though she were recalling what happened just last week or last year. Like Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin, much of Gone to Ground takes place against the background of ordinary, working-class Berlin. After she persuades her boss at the Siemens factory where she has been working to fire her (she cannot resign) Marie manages to slip through the bureaucratic net and make herself disappear from official Berlin registers.
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