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Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself

Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself: The Mass Suicide of Ordinary Germans in 1945

Florian Huber

Translated by Imogen Taylor

A wave of suicides broke across Germany in 1945 as tens of thousands chose death—for themselves and their children—rather than face the defeat of the Third Reich and the reckoning to come.

Using the words of eyewitnesses, historian Florian Huber tells of one of the largest mass suicides in history and its suppression by survivors—offering a fascinating insight into the feelings of ordinary people caught in the tide of history who saw no other way out.


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Florian Huber
About the Author

Florian Huber is the author of several works of history and has also produced award-winning documentaries on contemporary subjects, including the fall of the Wall, the mysterious end of the poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and the 1936 Olympic Games.

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About the Translator

Imogen Taylor is literary translator based in Berlin who also translated Fear, Twins and The Missing by Dirk Kurbjuweit. Her translation of Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s Beside Myself was shortlisted for the 2021 Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize 2020. More recent work includes Alfred Döblin’s Two Women and a...

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Text publication date:
4 June 2019
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Praise for Florian Huber
andPromise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself

‘Florian Huber’s book is a valuable contribution to understanding how Germany was responsible for some of the most terrible events of the last century.’

‘[A] a remarkable book—grim and fascinating.’

‘Until Huber’s work, the deaths were underestimated, confined to official documents and several diaries published in the 1950s and 1960s. It makes Promise Me a significant work.’

‘Huber acquaints us with a chapter of German history largely unknown until now, and likely repressed.’

‘Gut-wrenching to read and one of the last previously untold and unacknowledged chapters in German history.’

‘A grimly compelling insight into the psychology of fanaticism.’

‘In this exploration of the relatively undocumented suicide epidemic that swept across Germany at the end of the Second World War, Florian Huber gives a harrowing insight into the psyche of everyday German citizens, from the time of Hitler’s meteoric rise to power to the destructive downfall of Nazi Germany.’

‘All eyes will be opened…by the sheer facts on offer in Florian Huber’s Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself…Huber follows a cast of real, all-too-human characters as they head into darkness. He builds a terrifying picture of how a modern, civilised culture embraced a lunatic death-cult…Huber’s terrible evidence is priceless, and belongs on every bookshelf.’

‘Vivid and disturbing…Huber portrays his subjects with empathy and offers key insights into the German mindset before, during, and after WWII.’

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