Hitler’s Lost State – The Fall of Prussia and the Wilhelm Gustloff Tragedy written by Tim Heath & Michela Cocolin published by Pen and Sword Books – £19.99 – Hardback – Pages 182.
The East & West Prussia area if memory serves me right used to be in north or westerly Poland region and an area largely left untouched during the war seen more an agricultural area during the war which would have helped supply the German war effort. But this didn’t mean the people of the area didn’t suffer, they had to suffer with widespread violence, prejudice and murder associated with the National Socialist regime.
When MV Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk by a Russian submarine in 1945, it had over 9,000 people onboard, about 5,000 of them were children who would perish. The worst loss of life in maritime history. Launched by Adolf Hitler as a propaganda recreational tool the Wilhelm Gustloff would eventually suffer the same fate as its nation. Although it occurred 75 years ago, little has been told of this human disaster. Using information and material, and people’s personal accounts this looks at the fate and connection of these two parts of a dramatic and sad part of history.
Now as most people will know, I do like a good Tim Heath book, in my opinion he is a fantastic author and by the way he writes he always brings the story of the events or time through to the reader through personal stories and recollections. This proves he knows who the right people to talk to and how to get the best information from them. For this book, he has co-authored this book with Michela Cocolin, who was able to bring her personal stories to the book and who did the larger share of the research needed for this book. This book looks at the way this German state was treated mainly between the inter war years to the end of the Second World War. The ethnic and racial cleansing of a nation showed how little the Nazi regime thought of the people of Prussia and caused much violence and suffering. In a tragic book, this was a very well told story of hardship and credit to all the information provided and those how gave themselves to the book through their stories. The contribution of both Heath and Cocolin has produced an excellent book and certainly a great book to recommend and read.