Berlin books and films – a small selection, mostly 20th century.

Berlin books and films: "Human will can push anything - This house once stood in a different country"

Nancy Mitford, Frederick the Great / Friedrich der Große
James Hawes: The shortest history of Germany
Rainer Werner Fassbinder / Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz – book and film (1980)
Berlin Alexanderplatz (2020), Burhan Qubani, film

The Counterfeits, on forgery of British pounds in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
The Downfall / Der Untergang – Hitler’s last weeks in the bunker
Blind Spot – Hitler’s secretary / Im toten Winkel – interview with Traudl Junge
Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds: filmed in Claerchen’s Ballhaus
Stauffenberg – German film which was copied by Tom Cruise in Valkyrie
Cabaret, with Liza Minelli (better watch the stage show live in Berlin)
Die Wannsee-Konferenz / Conspiracy, real-time pic with Kenneth Branagh, filmed on site

Roman Polanski, The pianist / Der Pianist

Ein blinder Held – Die Liebe des Otto Weidt, TV, ZDF

Anthony Beevor: The Downfall – Berlin 1945 on battle of Berlin
Joachim Fest: Not me – a German Childhood / Ich nicht, growing up in Nazi Germany
Philip Kerr: Berlin Noir – crime stories in and after Third Reich (total of about 8 Bernie Gunther novels, all great)
Pierre Frei: Berlin. A novel – crime story in and after Third Reich
Judith Kerr: When Hitler stole pink rabbit, daughter of Alfred Kerr describes emigration / Als Hitler das rosa Kaninchen stahl
Anonyma: A woman in Berlin. Woman surviving post-war Berlin. True story. / Eine Frau in Berlin.
Gad Beck, An Underground Life: autobiography of Jewish gay communist / Und Gad ging zu David.
H.-J. Massaquoi, Destined to witness (Neger, Neger, Schornsteinfeger): autobiography of black boy in Nazi Germany, he became head of „Ebony“ magazine later
Madeleine Albright, Winter in Prague (her family history, Theresienstadt, Heydrich, CSSR)
Inge Deutschkron, Your name is Sarah / Dein Name ist Sarah, Ich trug den gelben Stern, Emigranto
Erik Larson: In the Garden of Beasts. Non-fiction on US ambassador W. Dodd around Hitler’s rise.
Daniel James Brown, The boys in the boat, about US rowing crew in the Olympics 1936
W. Michael Blumenthal, The Invisible Wall. German and Jews, a personal exploration.
Christian Gerlach, Der Mord an den europäischen Juden / The Extermination of the European Jews
Stefan Kühl, Ganz normale Organisationen / Ordinary Organisations, on Nazi perpetrators
Heike Görtemaker, Eva Braun
Marie-Françoise Peteuil: Helen Hessel – Die Frau, die Jules und Jim liebte
Götz Aly: Warum die Deutschen? Warum die Juden? / Why the Germans? Why the Jews?
Jean Lopez, Den Zweiten Weltkrieg verstehen
Yishai Sarid, Monster
Peter Wyden: Stella Goldschlag
Wolfgang Brenner: Zwischen Ende und Anfang. Nachkriegsjahre in Deutschland
Irmgard Keun: Nach Mitternacht / After midnight
Harald Jähner, Wolfszeit
Anna Funder: Stasiland – stories from behind the Wall. Australian explores East German Stasi victims and perpetrators.
Jane Kramer: Eine Amerikanerin in Berlin
Ian McEwan, The Innocent / Die Unschuldigen – on british-american spy tunnel
Uwe Tellkamp, Der Turm / The Tower
Wolfgang Hilbig, Ich / „I“ – about Stasi
Brigitte Reimann, Franziska Linkerhand (same title in english)
Andreas Petersen, Die Moskauer – Stalinismus und DDR
Tim Mohr: Burning down the Haus, about punks in the GDR
Peter Wensierski: Jena Paradies
One Two Three – best Berlin comedy by Billy Wilder
The life of the others / Das Leben der anderen – Oscar-winner on life in the GDR under Stasi surveillance
Mauerhase – Wall Rabbits; fantastic metaphor of dictatorships: documentary on life of rabbits between the Berlin walls
12 means I love you – 12 heisst Ich liebe dich – true story – Stasi prisoner and her interrogator fall in love (they’re married today)
Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg, on spy exchange 1962 Gary Powers – Richard Abel
This ain’t California – documentary on skateboarders in East Germany
Der gleiche Himmel. Dreiteiler über Stasi-Romeos
Boxhagener Platz – life in Friedrichshain
Goodbye Lenin – comedy on end of GDR
Der Turm – TV production of book above
Peter Schneider, Berlin Now: the rise of the city and the fall of the Wall. 25 years after the fall of the wall. 2014
Katja Oskamp: Marzahn mon amour
Victoria – „Berlin today“ – movie filmed in a single take. 2014
Michael Ballhaus, In Berlin, 2009: famous director of photography’s love declaration on Berlin
KDD Kriminaldauerdienst – Fernsehserie 2010


You know more Berlin books and films – I’m happy about tips!


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