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Publication - Dr Debbie Pinfold

    'World War II "von unten"

    Childhood and Youth in Lisa Tetzner's Ist Paul schuldig? (1945)

    Citation

    Pinfold, DM, 2016, ‘'World War II "von unten": Childhood and Youth in Lisa Tetzner's Ist Paul schuldig? (1945)’. German Life and Letters, vol 69., pp. 485-502

    Abstract

    Literary presentations of children in war tend to depict them
    exclusively as innocent victims. Indeed, even those texts featuring
    children who have been subjected to, and have ostensibly absorbed, Nazi
    indoctrination continue to insist on a Romantic myth of childhood as the
    embodiment of a prelapsarian past and redemptive potential for the
    future. This essay, however, focuses on the way the exiled author Lisa
    Tetzner (1894–1963) uses images of childhood to negotiate concepts of
    guilt and responsibility in her novel for younger readers, Ist Paul schuldig? (1945), the seventh volume of her series Die Kinder aus Nr. 67. It will argue that the novel anticipates debates about German guilt first fully articulated in Karl Jaspers's Die Schuldfrage
    (1946), as well as later debates about German wartime suffering. It
    will further suggest that by focusing on the moral guilt of an
    individual adolescent whose childhood backstory is very familiar to the
    reader, the novel creates a challenging and yet sympathetic space where
    not only youthful German readers might have explored the extent of their
    personal responsibility for the Third Reich in 1945.

    Full details in the University publications repository