A Story of Modern Germany
In The House at the Bridge, Katie Hafner takes a “once elegant, now dilapidated nineteenth-century villa in Potsdam” and uses it to examine the life of post-war Germany and the tensions created by reunification. With the rise of the Nazi regime, the villa lost its owners through death and exile, and the house was then converted to a “Kinderwochenheim”, a boarding house for children. Through interviews, memoirs and documents, Hafner gives us an unforgettable story of 20th-century Germany as told through the prism of one remarkable house and the family descendants who reclaim it.
Praise & Reviews
“In probing the history and reconstruction of a house, Hafner sheds light on the complicated and delicate reconstruction of memory and history.”
“If a single building could be a metaphor for a hundred years of history, it’s the one in Katie Hafner’s book. A fine writer, Hafner tells not only the Wallich story in compelling detail, but she also weaves in profiles of others who lived in the house, including several teachers in the kindergarten. Their stories demonstrate the human dimensions of German unification.”
–Sandee Brawarsky, The New York Jewish Week
“Hafner’s engrossing account tells the reader about the house’s former occupants and others who came to have important roles in its fate. In so doing, the house becomes a personally involving symbol of the social, cultural, and historical events of contemporary Germany.”
–Susan Reisser, German Life