Covering the time from 1933–1939 in Germany, this book is the result of the dreams reported by over 300 people to the author – sometimes directly, sometimes via a doctor friend of hers. She kept the reports semi-encrypted and hidden in the spines of books that she sent one-by-one out of the country.
It’s very matter-of-fact. For example, all dreams that are just about violence were filtered out, because those are just to be expected in times of war and oppression.
The dreams mirror the oppressive surroundings. Lots of dreams of being humiliated and then ignored (eg the factory owner, forced to slowly raise his arm in front of all his employees, then is left standing there). Dreams of surveillance, like the one about the abolishment of all walls, or words (like Lord, or I) being forbidden, or being arrested for thinking of Hitler when hearing a negative word, your own flat reporting you to the police (in 1933!). Those are very frequent, including people thinking and saying the exact opposite just to be safe. Maths teacher dreams that writing down maths is forbidden, probably following some book burnings.
Even in dreams there is no opposition or resistance, just fear, disbelief, paralysis. Fear of looking like a jew (always or suddenly). Fear of every simple surrounding and everyday action. And anticipation of the future: concentration camps, destruction, various anti-jew laws appear in dreams before they become common knowledge (or, in some cases, even before they take place).
It’s a sobering book. I’m glad I read it.
This book is part of the 2022 Backlog Incident.