In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler’s Berlin

In Germany, Dodd had noticed, no one ever abused a dog, and as a consequence dogs were never fearful around men and were always plump and obviously well tended. “Only horses seem to be equally happy, never the children or the youth,” he wrote. “I often stop as I walk to my office and have a word with a pair of beautiful horses waiting while their wagon is being unloaded. They are so clean and fat and happy that one feels that they are on the point of speaking.” He called it “horse happiness” and had noticed the same phenomenon in Nuremberg and Dresden. In part, he knew, this happiness was fostered by German law, which forbade cruelty to animals and punished violators with prison, and here Dodd found deepest irony. “At a time when hundreds of men have been put to death without trial or any sort of evidence of guilt, and when the population literally trembles with fear, animals have rights guaranteed them which men and women cannot think of expecting.”

In hindsight, it’s always easy to say what the world should or shouldn’t do to Nazi. But foreseeing a nation’s future doesn’t require any sort of magic spell either. Read this book, make mental notes while enjoying the romantic adventures of the ambassador’s play-girl daughter. Try to memorize the symptoms. If your country, or the country you’re currently residing in, starts to show these kind of crazy things, run for your life as soon as possible. Don’t count on your luck. History DO repeats itself.

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