Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Liberty Is Dead: A Canadian in Germany, 1938

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Liberty Is Dead: A Canadian in Germany, 1938

Article excerpt

Margaret E. Derry (ed.), Liberty Is Dead: A Canadian in Germany, 1938 (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012), 170 pp. Paper. £20.99. ISBN 978-1-55458-053-8.

In this book Margaret E. Derry uses the edited letters and diary of Franklin Wegenast, a Canadian lawyer of German descent, to provide a Canadian perspective on Germany in 1938. She also provides a short biography of Wegenast and an assessment of the information on the situation in Germany available to Canadians in the Toronto Globe (after 1936 the Globe and Mail) and the London Times. She suggests that the Globe and Mail was more critical of Nazi Germany than the London Times. Derry concludes the book with an analysis of what Wegenast's diary and letters tell us about Germans and Germany in 1938.

In the spring of 1938 Wegenast spent several months touring Europe in his car preceded by a few days in Egypt, Palestine and Greece. This book focuses on the time he spent in Austria and western Germany visiting distant relatives as part of his research into his family's history. Wegenast also befriended a number of young Germans during his tour. For example, he picked up a Bavarian hitchhiker on the border between Italy and Austria who was on his way to Munich. They stopped in Innsbruck where Adolf Hitler was to give a speech. Wegenast allowed the young man to listen to the speech and observe the associated events from the balcony of his hotel room. The boy leftthe hotel room after the speech and did not return to collect his belongings. The next day a worried Wegenast visited the police station and discovered the boy had been detained by the police. …

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