(3 customer reviews)
Publication Date: March 28, 2022
Categories: History, Politics and Society, AutobiographyISBN: 9781914471384
Despite the often-unimaginable horrors of war, bonds of family and friendship can hold us together… Peter Barth was born in Hamburg during the Second World War. Sound and Fury explores war-time memorabilia, tape-recorded conversations, photographs and letters, to uncover amazing stories about his three closest families during the war.
All three families lived close by in Hamburg. Towards the end of July 1943, the RAF bombed the city, creating an enormous firestorm and killing 45,000 people. The families survived and were scattered around Europe. His father and cousin were sent to the siege of Leningrad, both returned severely wounded. The Koschel family moved to Krakow. When the Red Army moved west, they had to flee. They came close to being caught in the RAF firestorm of Dresden.
Meanwhile, the Barths were refugees in a pretty village close to Bergen-Belsen, the horror of which only emerged when it was liberated by the Allies. Just north of there, the Cap Arcona (with Uncle Adam onboard) was anchored in the Bay of Lübeck with two other ships, after rescuing thousands of refugees and wounded soldiers. The SS took command and packed the ships with thousands of concentration camp victims. The day before the German forces surrendered, RAF planes bombed and sank them. No one knows why.
Peter Barth BSc PhD, was born in Hamburg in 1941. He and his family became refugees in Germany and after the war, moved to Brighton, England. He followed a career as a molecular biologist, studying, teaching and researching in many universities, including Southampton, Leicester, Yale, Kent and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School. His particular interest was the spread of drug-resistant bacteria. He worked in AstraZeneca until retirement. He and his wife now live in a village near Chester.
John Henry (Guest Review) - 22 Apr, 2022
I've just finished Peter's wonderful book. What an incredible achievement - and so skilfully written! The rich humanity of the protagonists and the author shines through in every page, despite the many horrors being described. What a precious gem to hand down to the future generations. I honestly found it deeply moving.
David Selzer (Guest Review) - 11 May, 2022
Peter Barth's SOUND AND FURY is a very impressive document. The author has skilfully woven together personal, family and European history - providing both an appropriately detailed and a very readable account.
He brings his family members vividly to life - his cousin, Werner, for example, through his letters (brilliantly translated) from the Eastern Front. And his mother, Dolly, to whom the book is rightly dedicated, who was steadfast, whatever the considerable dangers and privations, in ensuring Peter and his sister were not only fed, warm and safe but were also, as far as possible, happy infants in war-torn Germany.
This is a timely book. Without polemic but just by telling the history the author shows how utterly pointless all war is, however righteous the perpetrators claim to be. In addition he ensures that, in these jingoistic times, the reader is fully aware of the UK's participation in the killing of civilians during World War II.
Christopher Fox-Walker (Guest Review) - 16 May, 2022
Sound and Fury is a moving account of three branches of one German family during World War II, recalling what they saw, heard and felt as their homes were destroyed and the families were dispersed by the ravages of war. The author was born in Hamburg in 1941. In 1943, he was sheltering in a cellar with his mother and sister as the R.A.F began their second bombing raid on Hamburg. A total of 45,000 people perished in these attacks. The family was evacuated as refugees to Oldendorf, a small village near Bergen-Belsen. His father and cousin were sent to the Siege of Leningrad: both were badly wounded. At the end of the war, their mother, who was English born, took them back to England away from the turmoil of defeated Germany. The author has used many of the war-time records of the German side of his family, recovering photographs, over 450 personal letters and recorded conversations. In the course of his research, he discovered much he did not know: A truly very intense and moving Social History and a pleasure to read.