The Berlin Wall. You may know of it. You may remember it; perhaps as a witness, an observer, a student of history, or a member of the armed forces. Whether it was local or in another country, its impact touched everyone, some in variable ways. In Hugh Allen's Through the Wall, we are shown two vastly different, but equally intriguing and moving personal histories of the barrier in Germany after World War II. In the West, we meet a young English boy, Hugh, with a fondness for adventure. In the East, we follow Hans Bernauer, from a tragic childhood to his early adulthood. These two individuals recount their experiences around the erection of the wall, with a common factor that ties them together, a model of a Sopwith Camel biplane.
From the terrible loss of his Jewish parents, Hans is raised in fear and poverty, and with hopes for a better life. Later, as a member of the People's Police, the Vopos, he struggles with the ethics and morals of his position, and the situation his family and people are trapped in. On the other side, as a son of a British government employee, Hugh battles boredom and peer pressure, both forces which bring him to find a hidden treasure in a ruined house, and accidentally to cross the wall to the East. With touching and moving sentiment, we can experience Hans's pain and hunger, Hugh's worry and excitement. With direct and pointed description, we can see the ruin, filth, and destruction after the war, and we can hear the grumblings, and praise of Berliners after Hitler was killed. Through the Wall is an intriguing tale with an end that will capture the curiosity of every reader.
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