Saturday, January 2, 2021

Book: Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself by Florian Huber

Huber, Florian. 2019. Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself: The Mass Suicide of Ordinary Germans in 1945. Little Brown Stark.

This is one of the photos in the book, quite famous in its day. It shows Kurt Lisso, city treasurer of Leipzig, and his family following their collective suicide. The photographer is American photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White.

The book documents the large volume of suicides that took place in the waning days of the Third Reich, most but not all of them in areas assigned to Russian occupation. It then uses the stories of these suicides to revisit the evergreen question of why it was that the Germans went down the Nazi road. The book combines social history, with lots of references to individual diaries and so on, with more traditional historical material that serves as context. 

Recommended if the subject is of interest.

I purchased this in my first pandemic bookstore visit last summer, which was to the local Barnes and Noble in Madison.

Barnes and Noble book page.

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