Hier ist Geduld und Glaube der Heiligen. Mose und blieb allein. Apostelgeschichte Wir aber wollen anhalten am Gebet und am Amt des Wortes.
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Parallel Verse. King James Bible Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; English Revised Version rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in prayer;.
At my own university, Carnegie Mellon, I owe thanks to a great many people. In particular I would like to thank my two colleagues in the German program, Christian Hallstein and Anne Green, who have continued to support me and to help the German program grow and thrive. My scholarly work continues to intersect in sometimes surprising ways with the questions and interests of my students, and so I would also like to express my thanks to them.
Scholarly work can sometimes lead one into unusual and even arcane paths of research, and more than anything else it is my continuous contact with students, their questions, and their responses that helps me to bridge the gap between my own work and the interests and concerns of a larger community. I am very lucky and privileged to have lively and intelligent students who constantly challenge me to probe, explore, and explain. For generous financial support, I would like to express deep thanks to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which supported both my research visit to Berlin in and my follow-up visits to Berlin in and Erlangen-Nuremberg in I also gratefully acknowledge support from the German Academic Exchange Service for an initial study visit to Berlin in , during the early stages of my work on this project; to the Berkman Faculty Development Fund and the Falk Grant program at Carnegie Mellon University, which provided support for travel and research; and to the Friends of the Libraries at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who supported my work at the Memorial Library in the summer of My thanks go to Sabine Hake, a close personal friend and also a respected scholar and colleague, who provided not only support and encouragement but also valuable critical readings of the manuscript.
April Eisman also gave me important advice on the manuscript. To both Jost Hermand and Jim Steakley I would like to express my thanks; and also to Marc Silberman, who helped organize the conference on which that volume was based. I was born in , and hence I am very much a child of the postwar period.
As I worked on this book the lives and experiences of Germans one, two, and three generations before me were very much on my mind: the lives of people born between and In reflecting on the situation of Germans in the difficult postwar years, I was also, of course, very much cognizant of the experiences of their American counterparts. It is to some of those American counterparts that I would like to dedicate this book: to my grandparents Harry and Maria Brockmann and Sam and Betty Samuelson.
Harry Lyndon Brockmann — , a physician, was old enough to be a veteran not of the Second but of the First World War, although he served not at the front but in the decidedly more comfortable environment of Washington, DC; Gilbert Justus Sam Samuelson —73 , as a petroleum chemist, was lucky enough, during the Second World War, to be deemed more crucial as a researcher than as a soldier. Maria Butler Brockmann — , a homemaker, was the daughter of an admiral in the United States Navy; Ida Elizabeth Betty Frey Samuelson —88 , the daughter of a Nebraska farmer, became, like her husband, an excellent chemist; like so many women of her own and of later generations, she gave up her professional career to become a homemaker.
I cherish and honor the memory of all four of my grandparents and hope that this book is at least in some respects a fitting tribute to them. Contemporary scholars are in broad agreement that the absolute break in continuity denoted by the concept of a literary zero hour simply did not take place, at least in West Germany, and probably not in East Germany either.
Because contemporary literary histories of postwar Germany frequently begin with the invocation of a radical historical discontinuity that did not happen — why, one wonders, should it have happened? And yet most of these names would have been familiar to Germans with literary interests during the period — It is difficult to assess the reasons for the neglect, in both popular memory and scholarship, of German culture and literature in the immediate postwar period.
Another possible explanation for the neglect of zero-hour literature is simply that contemporary mentalities are significantly different from those prevalent at the zero hour. However another powerful reason for the neglect of zero-hour literature is that in West German literary history the absent zero hour ultimately became part of a mythic prehistory.
The supposed blankness of the purported zero hour served as a foil against which the supposed founders of West German literature could shine brightly in what Stuart Parkes and John J. In West Germany the study of postwar literature did not begin in earnest until after the student revolts of , at which point the critical deconstruction of the zero hour concept became one of the most important thrusts of progressive Germanistik.
Literary-critical deconstructions of the zero-hour myth in the late s and afterward were part of a widespread effort on the part of postwar intellectuals to contribute to democratic consciousness by demonstrating ongoing continuities between postwar West Germany and the Nazi Reich.
In the view of left-liberal critics, the myth of a zero hour — originally created by leftliberals like Richter — now provided German conservatives with a kind of fire wall that protected them from guilt by association with the Nazi period. The concept of a zero hour seemed to imply that postwar West Germany had emerged out of nowhere, without a past and therefore unencumbered by the problems of that past.
During the early s literary historians were able to demonstrate convincingly that, at least in the realm of literature, there had been no absolute zero hour and that West German literature after the end of the war continued with more or less the same personnel and in more or less the same styles as before. As useful as it was, however, the deconstruction of the zero hour concept not only left unchallenged but actually reinforced the claims of Richter and others to have fought a largely heroic, albeit unsuccessful fight against political restoration.
Moreover, the literary-critical deconstruction of the zero hour seemed to render any critical reconstruction of the zero hour itself unnecessary.
The implication of his argument is that there is no specifically West German cultural identity at all in the late s and the early s, and that only progressive literature produced at the end of the s and later can be seen as part of West German literary history. Hence, the literary history of the Federal Republic can only have begun at least a decade after the state itself was founded.
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David Roberts is even more forceful in denying the literature of the zero hour a place in postwar West German literary history. On the one hand Briegleb attacks the dominance and self-celebrations of Gruppe 47, but precisely in making it the centerpiece of his attack, while ignoring other literary figures, he paradoxically helps to cement the ex post facto dominance of Gruppe It is precisely the systematic neglect or even repression of the zero-hour authors that suggests the need for a reexamination of them.
Two recent studies suggest that such accusations against zerohour literature still have credibility. Nevertheless, Schlant unfairly includes her among the authors participating in the obfuscation of the past. In addition, the latter novel even thematizes the denial of Nazi crimes.
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Propaganda, nothing more. Gypsies and Jews, Poles. Such depictions of the Holocaust as part of a Christian history of struggle between God and the devil may now seem offensive to many, and they may even be perceived as silencing the specifically Jewish dimensions of the Holocaust. However no matter how inadequately, they do thematize the Holocaust, even if they do not use that word — itself a product of cultural history after the zero hour.
In the immediate postwar period, such thematizations were tremendous accomplishments. But far from rejoicing in her fate, Ellen wishes she could wear a yellow star like her Jewish friends; when she does wear one, she suffers the same kind of discrimination and racism that they suffer. Two wrong grandparents and two right ones! However, in the context of the novel it is clear that Ellen is trying to help her grandmother, not to dishonor her. Concentration, you know, concentration of the human being.
That difference certainly needs to be acknowledged, and the reasons for it need to be explored. In the immediate postwar period what is now called the Holocaust was seen as one particularly horrific part of a general panoply of horrors, not as a unique and incomparable event.
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It was seen not from the perspective of late twentieth-century identity politics, but from the perspective of a generally idealistic universalism that potentially included all human beings. And it was generally seen from the perspective not of the Jewish but of the Christian religion. Such ways of approaching the Holocaust may now seem outdated or wrongheaded, but they do not constitute silence. And it is quite likely that by exploring them further we may come to understand more about our own approaches to and preconceptions about the Holocaust.
This raises another question: how can one now treat the Jewish aspects of the zero hour? There is no question that in both East Germany and West Germany, as well as in Austria, Jews and people of Jewish ancestry played an important role in the intellectual rebuilding of the country.
However it is also safe to say — as the preceding discussion of the Holocaust has shown — that sensitivity to and interest in Jewish questions was significantly less acute then than it is now — in both Central Europe and the United States. Nor did all of the postwar figures now perceived as Jewish actually perceive themselves as such.
Victor Klemperer, for instance, who is now generally perceived as a Jew, at least in Germany, saw himself as a German Protestant who happened to have Jewish ancestors. Arnold Zweig had actually emigrated to Palestine in , but he returned to Germany in because as a German Marxist and an anti-nationalist he felt more at home there than he did in non-German-speaking, Zionist Israel.
Max Horkheimer, who had four Jewish grandparents, and Theodor W. Adorno, who had two, returned to West Germany from exile in the United States in and helped to lay the foundations for postwar German sociology and philosophy. Both Horkheimer and Adorno were products of the history of Jewish assimilation in Germany during the nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries; both probably saw themselves primarily as Germans, not as Jews; neither was religious.
In the general turn to religion after the Second World War, it was primarily Catholicism and Protestantism, not Judaism, that predominated. Those writers, such as Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs, and Hermann Broch, who became more interested in questions of Jewish tradition and Jewish identity generally did not return to live in Germany, either East or West.
Hence although it is accurate to say that Jews and people perceived as Jews played a significant role in postwar intellectual reconstruction, it is important to understand that many of these intellectuals did not see Jewish identity as a primary category for their self-understanding, and that the intellectual climate in Germany at the time was not particularly conducive to explorations of Jewish identity.
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They are not ahistorical or in some way natural; to posit them as such would, paradoxically, mirror Nazi notions of racial essences. In effect, Richter and others in the first postwar generation had laid the groundwork for the emergence of what were only later to become the dominant voices of postwar literature. In that myth, even if the Davids of Gruppe 47 had failed to triumph politically over the Goliaths of conservative restoration during the interregnum period, at least they could continue the struggle more successfully later in the realm of culture.
There is no doubt that this is the way Richter and Andersch wished to view themselves and to be seen by others. And yet the line between Gruppe 47 and the inner emigration is by no means as easy to draw as Richter and Andersch would have wished. During the last decade and a half, literary historians have uncovered considerable evidence of conformism and complicity during the Nazi period on the part of some of the very writers later celebrated as the heroic nonconformists of the zero hour.
Far from being the youthful writers invoked in their own prose, they were nearly middle-aged by the time the war ended. No one falls from heaven. And yet this fundamental debunking of the zero hour concept by one of its own primary proponents has not yet been absorbed in a broader scholarly understanding of zero-hour literature. Richter, Andersch, and their associates are still for the most part accepted — even by critics like Briegleb — as the founders of postwar West German literature, while their inner emigrant colleagues are still largely ignored. It was not just with respect to society at large that the zero hour failed; the zero hour was also not a zero hour for Richter and Andersch.
In a sense, they were themselves part of the postwar restoration. In a study of the zero-hour myth completed fifty years after the end of the Second World War, I suggested that if the year is denied the status of a zero hour, then German cultural history is faced with a fundamental dilemma, forced to explain how a supposed restoration could ultimately result in the most liberal and open society Germany has ever known. At what point did the National Socialist Germany become the democratic Germany Germans and oth53 ers know today?
Kiesel has identified the same fundamental dilemma with respect to postwar literary history, suggesting that because of their reliance on the theory of restoration to discredit cultural development in West Germany during the immediate postwar years, literary historians have boxed themselves into a corner. Another fundamental complication in any attempt to reexamine German literary culture of the zero hour is the division of Germany. Literary critics and scholars have tended anachronistically to project the subsequent history of German division onto a period in which neither the Federal Republic nor the GDR existed.
This complication is no doubt reason enough to leave the — period out of postwar literary histories. However with the reunification of Germany such an approach is no longer tenable, and it becomes crucial to examine the zero hour period as a kind of prehistory to the reunified Germany of today. In what follows I will explore the German literary situation of the immediate postwar years neither as a radical zero hour nor as a restoration but rather as a complex, ambiguous, and productive period in which German authors in all four occupation zones and in both the east and the west sought to respond to specific challenges, to engage in concrete debates, and to position themselves for the future.
Because Austrian writers like Ilse Aichinger and Swiss writers like Max Frisch were also part of literary discourse in Germany during these years, I will not exclude them, but they will not be my main focus. Likewise, since many German-language writers living outside German-speaking Europe at the end of the war, such as Thomas Mann, were nevertheless directly or indirectly involved in literary discourse in Germany, they are an important part of the story. I am less interested in institutional history than I am in the concrete discourses that writers and other literary intellectuals engaged in during the immediate postwar years.