Defying Hitler: A Memoir

Sebastian Haffner

After emigrating from Germany in 1938, Raimund Pretzel (1907-1999), writing under the pen name Sebastian Haffner, became a well-known journalist and author. This manuscript, discovered by Pretzel’s son after its author’s death, follows Pretzel from a childhood fascination with World War I statistics through the economic and political turbulence of 1920s Berlin to the formative years of Hitler’s Third Reich. It is a story told from the point of view of a young legal clerk caught up in events that he tries his best to ignore but that intrude on his world as time goes on. The narrative stops abruptly in 1933, after Pretzel’s return from a Nazi indoctrination camp for civilians. Contemporary readers who see disturbing parallels between the 1930s National Socialists and today’s GOP will find solace in these pages.