“I lived the same life as everyone else, the life of ordinary people, the masses.” Sitting in a prison cell in the autumn of 1944, the German author Hans Fallada sums up his life under the National Socialist dictatorship, the time of “inward emigration”. Under conditions of close confinement, in constant fear of discovery, he writes himself free from the nightmare of the Nazi years. He records his thoughts about spying and denunciation, about the threat to his livelihood and his literary work and about the fate of many friends and contemporaries. The confessional mode did not come naturally to Fallada, but in the mental and emotional distress of 1944, self-reflection became a survival strategy.
Fallada’s frank and sometimes provocative memoirs were thought for many years to have been lost. They are published here for the first time.