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Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip [Kindle Edition]

Harry Leslie Smith
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Twenty-two years old and ready for peace, Harry Leslie Smith has survived the Great Depression and endured the Second World War. Now, in 1945 in Hamburg, Germany, he must come to terms with a nation physically and emotionally devastated. In this memoir, he narrates a story of people searching to belong and survive in a world that was almost destroyed. Hamburg 1947 recounts Smith's youthful RAF days as part of the occupational forces in post-war Germany. A wireless operator during the war, he doesn't want to return to Britain and join a queue of unemployed former servicemen; he reenlists for long term duty in occupied Germany. From his billet in Hamburg, a city razed to the ground by remorseless aerial bombardment, he witnesses a people and era on the brink of annihilation. This narrative presents a street-level view of a city reduced to rubble populated with refugees, black marketers, and cynical soldiers. At times grim and other times amusing, Smith writes a memoir relaying the social history about this time and place, providing a unique look at post-WWII Germany. Hamburg 1947 is both a love story for a city and a passionate retailing of a love affair with a young German woman.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 588 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Barley Hole LLC; Second Edition edition (9 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008216N7S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,237 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author


Harry Leslie Smith is a survivor of the Great Depression, a second world war RAF veteran and, at 90, an activist for the poor and for the preservation of social democracy. His Guardian articles have been shared over 60,000 times on Facebook and have attracted huge comment and debate. He has authored numerous books about Britain during the Great Depression, the second world war and postwar austerity. He lives outside Toronto, Canada and in Yorkshire.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it nearly as much as the first one! 17 Dec. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the continuing memoir of Harry Smith - for the first book, see 1923: A Memoir. It's about his life in post war Hamburg (as is obvious from the title, I guess!), and about the lives of the people he knew there, too, and the population of the city in general.

Within the book I read so much about the years directly following WW2 - things I never about, because those times are not nearly as well documented as the war years, are they? I hadn't realised how bad things were in Germany, or how much prejudice still existed, even though we were now supposedly at peace. Those years are shown through the eyes of Harry's girlfriend, Friede, much of the time, so I was made aware of how it was for the average person with so little, whose lives had been thrown up in the air by the war, and their uncertainty about the future.

The book isn't only terrific from a historical interest point of view, but it's also extremely well written - so much that I started the 3rd book in the series the minute I had finished this one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read and interesting viewpoint. 14 Oct. 2013
By Alan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Don't know much about life in Germany after the war, so to read it from the viewpoint of a " man in the street" is interesting. The author is not the type of man you would normally expect to be writing a book about this subject and so his views and opinions are not the same as you would get from a person with a more comfortable background.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Harry Leslie Smith doesn't need to invent heartache, the misery of unrequited love, penury or suffering because he's lived it. Hamburg 1947 is the poignant account of his life just after the end of World War Two, in Hamburg. As a radio operator for the RAF he knows that his life in Germany is going to be secure and safe, as opposed to the likelihood of unemployment and hardship back in Yorkshire, so he gets his service time extended. This is also because he's fallen in love with beautiful Elfriede, a German girl with secrets. But the authorities don't allow fraternisation with the enemy, even thought the war is over. So Harry struggles to square the circle. In the course of this we see Germany from the eyes of a compassionate serviceman who has suffered and seen suffering, who's under no illusions about the harm the German people visited upon the rest of the world, yet feels compassion for those same stoical Germans who are now at rock bottom, pressing their youth into hazardous factory jobs and struggling to build themselves back up as a nation, now under the control of nations they so recently sought to extinguish. Eternal truths are displayed: that black marketers always win out, and being righteous doesn't find food for an empty stomach. Most of all that a vein of bizarre stupidity runs through the fortunes of the cleverest schemes of man, and that good or bad fortune overrides all our endeavours to a greater or lesser extent. That being decent and muddling through is about the most that any of us can aspire to. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip 1 Dec. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Most enlightening...it's a period of time which for personal reasons I wished to know more about and I feel its observant details filled gaps in my knowledge.Very personal and revealing.....looking forward to the sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hamburg after World War II 11 Nov. 2012
By Atir
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's an absolutely hair raising account of the conditions in that city after the war. Yes, if there was any food to be had it meant cuing for ages with ration cards of course. Or people could try to obtain something on the black markets or from farmers, bartering their valuable possessions for bits of food. - I wish more people would read books like this one to make them aware of the consequences of warfare, including demoralisation and hopelessness. - What did Harry and Friede do next? But surely, the story does not end there!
I give this book four stars because there some German words misspelled. And, the U-Bahn (underground train/metro) is heading towards Berlin? No damaged buildings along the Jungfernstieg?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read 28 Aug. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Admittedly this book is right up my street as I have always had a major interest in the 2 World Wars, however, this is a very refreshing change to the usual accounts of life on the front line during the conflict itself.

This memoir of Harry Smith follows his life from the end of the war based on an RAF base in Hamburg and provides a shocking insight into the plight of innocent German civilians in the years immediately after the war. It tells of the unending struggle to find enough food and other supplies to survive and how many German families were forced to barter all of their previous worldly possessions just to be able to eat.

The main part however, focuses on Harry's love for a young German girl, Friede and how he has to overcomes many obstacles and prejudices to further their relationship and to finally to be allowed to marry his true love.

I found Harry's bravery and determination to be very endearing and inspiring, it is to be remembered he was only 22 when the war ended, but showed maturity and bravery beyond his years to achieve his goal.

A thoroughly gripping read, I'm just sorry it ended where it did and hope Harry produces a follow up of this fascinating insight into life in post war Britain.
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