From A WOMAN IN BERLIN: EIGHT WEEKS IN THE CONQUERED CITY, by Anonymous
Inspiration behind Director Blanka Zizka's vision for Macbeth
A Woman in Berlin is the journal of a young woman recounting her experiences in the first eight weeks of the Soviet occupation of Berlin, starting in April, 1945. It was a major inspiration for director Blanka Zizka’s vision of the world in which the Wilma’s Macbeth is set. Historian Antony Beevor praises A Woman in Berlin for “its courage, its stunning intellectual honesty, and its uncommon powers of observation and perception. It is one of the most important personal accounts ever written about the effects of war and defeat.”
“Our radio has been dead for four days. Once again we see what dubious blessing technology really is. Machine with no intrinsic value, worthless if you can’t plug them in somewhere. Bread, however, is absolute…But radios, gas stoves, central heating, hot plates, all the gifts of the modern age - they’re nothing but dead weight if the power goes out. At the moment we are marching backwards in time. Cave dwellers.
I have been preoccupied, forced to cope with my fear of death. The symptoms are always the same. First the sweat beads up around my hairline, then I feel something boring into my spine, my throat gets scratchy, my mouth dry, my heart starts to skip. I’ve fixed my eyes on the chair leg opposite and am memorizing every turned bulge or curve. It would be nice to pray. The brain clings to set phrases, fragments of sentences: “Pass lightly through this world, for it is nothing…and each one falls as God desires…Noli timere.”
What’s clear is that every threat to your life boosts your vitality. My own flame is stronger; I’m burning more fiercely than before the air raids. Each new day of life is a day of triumph. You have survived once again. You’re defiant. On the one hand you stand taller, but at the same time you’re planted more firmly on the ground.”