With my heroine, Hannah Vogel, I moved into Berlin in 1931, the year before Germany was completely lost to the Nazis. I started at the top level of research with secondary sources, thick scholarly tomes like The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, but only through page 387 because I wasn’t interested in the fall yet, just the rise. I romped through Otto Friedrich’s history of Weimar-era Berlin, Before the Deluge. And where else but in Hawaii would I have time to start the thousand year history of Berlin, Faust’s Metropolis by Alexandra Richie?
I listened to the rough voice of Lotte Lenya, widow of Kurt Weill, belting out an enchanting “Mack the Knife,” a song released in—you guessed it—1931 in Berlin. Now to see their world. Berlin’s UFA Studio was the center of the German film industry from 1917 to 1945. Amazingly gifted directors who worked there would later come to the United States and become famous enough that even their early films are available on Netflix, only a few days shipping from my tiny TV, classics like M, Emil and the Detectives, and Nosferatu.
How do you like to travel back in time? If you could travel any where and any when, where would you go, and what would you bring back?