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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


'Shadowland: The Story of Germany Told by Its Prisoners' by Prof. Sarah Colvin

Congratulations to Schröder Professor Sarah Colvin on the publication of her new book, Shadowland: The Story of Germany Told by Its Prisoners.

A nation, in the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones’. Shadowland tells the sometimes inspiring, often painful stories of Germany’s prisoners, and thereby shines new light on Germany itself. The story begins at the end of the Second World War, in a defeated country on the edge of collapse, in which orphaned and lost children are forced to live rough, scavenging and stealing to stay alive, often laying the foundations of a ‘criminal career’. While East Germany developed detention facilities for its secret police, West Germany passed prison reform laws, which erected, in the words of a prisoner, ‘little asbestos walls in Hell’. When the Wall fell in 1989 there was the promise of a new start, but how strongly did the wind of change really blow on the inside?

Shadowland is Germany as seen through the lives, experiences, triumphs and tragedies of its lowest citizens.