9781250065063

The House by the Lake One House, Five Families, and a Hundred Years of German History

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781250065063

  • ISBN10:

    1250065062

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 7/5/2016
  • Publisher: Picador

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Summary

A Finalist for the Costa Book Award

Longlisted for the Orwell Prize

Named a Best Book of the Year by
The Times (London) • New Statesman (London) • Daily Express (London) • Commonweal magazine

In the summer of 1993, Thomas Harding traveled to Germany with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake on the outskirts of Berlin. It had been her “soul place,” she said—a holiday home for her and her family, but also a refuge—until the 1930s, when the Nazis’ rise to power forced them to leave.

The trip was his grandmother’s chance to remember her childhood sanctuary as it was. But the house had changed, and when Harding returned once again nearly twenty years later, it was about to be demolished. It now belonged to the government, and as Harding began to inquire about whether the house could be saved, he unearthed secrets that had lain hidden for decades. Slowly he began to piece together the lives of the five families who had lived there: a wealthy landowner, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned composer, a widow and her children, a Stasi informant. All had made the house their home, and all but one had been forced out.

The house had weathered storms, fires and abandonment, witnessed violence, betrayals and murders, and had withstood the trauma of a world war and the dividing of a nation. Breathtaking in scope and intimate in its detail, The House by the Lake is a groundbreaking and revelatory new history of Germany, told over a tumultuous century through the story of a small wooden house.

Author Biography

THOMAS HARDING is an author and journalist who has written for the Financial Times, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian, among other publications. His #1 internationally bestselling book Hanns and Rudolf won the 2015 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize, was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Book Award Biography prize and is being translated into more than a dozen languages.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS



List of Illustrations — ix
Family Trees — xii
Maps — xiv

Author’s Note — xxi
Prologue — 1

Part i: Glienicke — 9

1. Wollank, 1890 — 11
2. Wollank, 1913 — 22
3. Alexander, 1927 — 33
4. Alexander, 1928 — 51
5. Wollank, 1929 — 60
6. Alexander, 1930 — 70
7. Schultz, 1934 — 87
8. Alexander, 1934 — 92

Part ii: The Lake House — 105

Interlude, August 2013 — 107
9. Meisel, 1937 — 111
10. Meisel, 1937 — 122
11. Meisel, 1942 — 134
12. Hartmann, 1944 — 147
13. Hartmann, 1945 — 154
14. Hartmann, 1945 — 161
15. Meisel, 1946 — 170
16. Meisel, 1948 — 184
17. Meisel, 1949 — 190

Part iii: Home — 201

Interlude, December 2013 —203
18.Fuhrmann, 1952 — 207
19. Fuhrmann and Kühne, 1958 — 216
20. Fuhrmann and Kühne, 1959 — 225
21. Fuhrmann and Kühne, 1961 — 231
22. Fuhrmann and Kühne, 1962 — 238

Part iv: Villa Wolfgang — 243

Interlude, January 2014— 245
23.Kühne, 1965 — 249
24. Kühne, 1970 — 262
25. Kühne, 1975 — 273
26. Kühne, 1986 — 283
27. Kühne, 1989 — 291
28. Kühne, 1990 — 301
29. Kühne, 1993 — 311
30. Kühne, 1999 — 319

Part v: Parcel Number 101/7 and 101/8 — 327

Interlude, February 2014 — 329
31. City of Potsdam, 2003 — 333
32. City of Potsdam, 2004 — 337
33. City of Potsdam, 2014 — 346
Epilogue — 353
Postscript — 357


Notes — 361
Bibliography — 411
Acknowledgements — 415
Index — 423




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

The lake house, July 2013 (Thomas Harding) — 2
Otto Wollank (Wollank Family Archive) — 12
Dorothea von Wollank (Ullstein/ Topfoto) — 27
Groß Glienicke Lake, photograph by Lotte Jacobi, 1928 (Alexander Family Archive) — 34
The lake house, photograph by Lotte Jacobi, 1928 (Alexander Family Archive) — 48
Henny Alexander on the lake house veranda (Alexander Family Archive) — 54
Alfred Alexander in the garden at Glienicke (Alexander Family Archive) — 54
Alfred (front centre), Elsie and Bella (back row left) and friends at the lake, 1928 (Alexander Family Archive) — 59
Otto and Dorothea von Wollank’s funeral procession, 1929 (Groß Glienicke Chronik) — 62
Robert von Schultz (Landesarchiv Berlin) — 64
Joseph Goebbels calls for Jewish boycott, Berlin, 1 April 1933 (USHMM/ National Archives, College Park) — 78
Fritz Munk with Alfred and Henny Alexander, Groß Glienicke (Munk Family Archive) — 85
‘Jews are barred from entering’ sign, Wannsee, 1935 (SZ Photo/Scherl/Bridgeman Images) — 99
Will Meisel (Edition Meisel GmbH) — 115
Eliza Illiard in Paganini (Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek Museum für Film und Fernsehen) — 119
Will Meisel at the lake house (Edition Meisel GmbH) — 124
Hanns Hartmann (WDR/Liselotte Strelow) — 147
Gatow airfield, with Groß Glienicke Lake visible (top left) (National Archive London) — 185
Wolfgang Kühne (Bernd Kühne) — 218
Lake house 1960s (Bernd Kühne) — 226
Berlin border fence, Groß Glienicke Lake, 1961 (Groß Glienicke Chronik) — 232
Berlin Wall layout (Der Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik) — 235
View of Berlin Wall from Groß Glienicke Lake (Der Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik)— 242
Thälmann Pioneers meet soldiers, Groß Glienicke (Groß Glienicke Chronik) — 254
Berlin Wall with view of Groß Glienicke Lake and islands (AKG) — 262
Intershop, East Berlin, 1979 (AKG) — 277
Delft tiles in lake house living room (Thomas Harding) — 287
Scene of Ulrich Steinhauer murder with Steinhauer’s body visible, far left (Der Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicher- heitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik) — 288
Border crossing opens at Groß Glienicke, 1989 (Andreas Kalesse) — 298
Bernd Kühne’s child on border path, 1989 (Bernd Kühne) — 299
View of the house from the lake shore, 1990s (Alexander Family Archive) — 307
Inge Kühne, Elsie Harding and Wolfgang Kühne (left to right) at the lake house, 1993 (Alexander Family Archive) — 314
Lake house, 1990s (Alexander Family Archive) — 319
Marcel, Matthias and Roland (left to right) (Marcel Adam) — 323
Boys’ room (Thomas Harding) — 334
Tree growing through brick terrace (Thomas Harding) — 341
Clean-up Day, April 2014 (Sam Cackler Harding) — 348
Denkmal ceremony, August 2014 (Sam Cackler Harding) — 354
Groß Glienicke Lake (Thomas Harding) — 356

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