by Paul Grant
It’s 1953 Berlin and the seeds of the bloody Workers’ Uprising have been sown…
Whilst working on the prestigious Stalinallee building project, Ulrich Schultz becomes embroiled in the protests, contrary to the desperate pleas of girlfriend, Ursula. As the protests intensify, Ulrich sees his fellow workers disappear one by one. Already uncertain which way to turn, he is unexpectedly approached by a West German agent warning him he is under surveillance by the East German Security Service.
Meanwhile in Leipzig, Hans Erdmann is still suffering the harrowing death of his wife and son. The KVP officer accepts a transfer to Berlin in an attempt to get his life back on track, yet only arrives in a city waiting to blow. Back in 1948, Ulrich’s father, Klaus struggles to survive as a POW in a frozen Siberian work camp, wondering if he will ever see his family again. He pits his wits against the wily commandant, Burzin, to whom there is more than meets the eye. As a snowstorm engulfs the camp, Klaus eventually facilitates the escape of one of his comrades, Markus Schram, but not without bloodshed. With the odds stacked against him, and the sadistic MGB captain Dobrovsky back to haunt him, can Klaus survive? Will Klaus’ family ever learn of his fate?
Indeed, will he ever make it back to his family in Berlin? As the protest spills on to the streets of the city, how will Ulrich react to the many warnings as the dreaded Stasi close in on his activities? BERLIN: Uprising is the final, thrilling installment of the Schultz family trilogy.
This is a tension-packed, thrilling read about post-war Berlin and the German POWs in Siberian camps. Although this is the last part of a trilogy, it can stand alone on its own merits.
The story centres on the Schultz family – father Klaus has been a prisoner for ten years, having become the focus of a vengeful Major who is intent on making him suffer.
Klaus’ wife, Maria, has raised their two children alone, but at the same time looked after and stood up for others who were persecuted during that time. Her son, Ulrich, now a young man, has followed in his father’s footsteps as a builder. But, Ulrich wants more for his co-workers, for his fellow Germans, and gets involved in many protest meetings, all planning for the big uprising.
Wonderful descriptions and well-drawn characters bring the story to life, truly painting a vivid picture of the era and the division within Berlin during those dangerous and tumultuous times. Fascinating to read about in such detail.
The drama comes from every direction – from the dangers in the Siberian gold mines to the Stasi in East Berlin.
Secrets, plots and conspiracies blend well with the changing relationships of the main characters as they encounter warnings and betrayals, not knowing who to trust and who to fear.
An exciting read that had kept my attention throughout. I almost wish I’d read the previous two stories in the trilogy first.