Mein Vater und ich: Prominente erzählen (German Edition)

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When these behaviours do not have symptomatic characteristics, they have long been regarded as personal whims rather than the consequences of war experiences. If there is anything conspicuous about us, it is most likely the little quirks: hardly any of us feels comfortable throwing away clothes or food. For many, dealing with time shows remarkable relics relating to escape and air attacks: the delay of saying good-bye and of making decisions, waiting to the very last second to use every bit of time, feeling indecisive while traveling, the chaos before departures.

Or those strange, often unnoticed, small phobias when descending into a subway station, for example. And being startled by something banal, like the sirens of fire trucks passing by, or the creeping discomfort when a lonely plane flies over a dark blue sky in September. Yes, moods, the sudden melancholy in a certain light, feeling touched by open landscapes, the unease during some afternoons or quiet evenings, or specific smells or sounds. In this context, she pointed to protective factors : "Most of the war children succeeded in keeping their memories of fright at bay, especially by immersing themselves in work.

These factors should not be overlooked, as has happened for a long time. Radebold, who sees himself as a war child, reminds of "the so-called egosyntonic behavior[s] of the war children. These are behaviours we all know: being thrifty, working hard and diligently, planning, organizing, being altruistic, looking after others and not oneself". But, on the other hand, they "did not learn to take care of their body". Some war children became ill, some recovered, others did not. Still others experienced first symptoms later, at an advanced age. According to Ermann, war children "as adults are generally more at risk of suffering from psychological disorders than others".

Ermann's research showed that war children today are much more likely to suffer from psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and psychosomatic complaints than the population at large. About a quarter of the war children interviewed by Ermann was severely restricted in their psycho-social quality of life and one in every ten was traumatized or had significant traumatic complaints.

Others are torn from sleep with an ancient feeling for which they have a personal formula: 'The Russians are coming'. Others experience depression, low confidence, anxiety, somatization or conversion. There are sometimes strange symptoms: feeling cold or recurring fever, agitation and restlessness or sudden panic, numbness, or the feeling of being out of control.

Today we recognize in such symptoms the traces of flight-or-fight responses, recurring memories that express themselves in the body, memories of the incomprehensible. One year after the Frankfurt Congress in , psychoanalyst Luise Reddemann addressed her younger colleagues during a lecture regarding therapeutic consequences:. Finally, I would like to ask the younger listeners in this audience to please remember that when you work with people who were born between and that these people could have been traumatized as children.

It might be that the symptoms of these people have their roots in the war. In addition, many of the war children have suffered from these symptoms for a long time because they have not taken them seriously due to internalized bravery. In , Luise Reddemann's book about psychotherapy regarding children of war and grandchildren of war was published. There she addressed the question of how the consequences of a childhood during war can be recognized and dealt with in detail.

He states that "neuro-physiological processes" are making memories "that have been hidden for a long time re-appear". Among the many topics discussed, the age of the war children was addressed as well. In summary, the late occurrence or deterioration of an existing post-traumatic symptomatology at a mature age was demonstrated in various research studies.

There is, however, the risk that the post-traumatic symptoms are not recognized and misinterpreted as age-related depression or somatic symptoms. Radebold, as Ermann, has researched war children and specializes in the psychotherapy of the elderly. He wondered how the war children would cope "when they become older, eventually needing care or support, and thus having to give up their independence".

Take, for example, old-age and nursing homes. The woman bites and screams and lashes about, re-experiencing sexual assault. Many of them are helplessly exposed to images and memories of war which are reappearing in old age. The shadows of the past are still noticeable in generations following the war children. Some of the descendants now call themselves grandchildren of war for they have long since realized that they are burdened by something, even though they have grown up protected and prosperous. The more the topic war children became public, the more organizations in several locations in Germany have been founded, focusing on this subject.

Some have since disappeared, others have been launched. Some of them are self-help groups with the goal to support, promote contacts, or organize group discussions. Some are directed exclusively to war children [71] or grandchildren of war, [72] while others address both groups.

Other organizations have primarily devoted themselves to the support of scientific research. The following films have not been translated into the English language. Their German titles, as well as the English translation of the titles in brackets, are included as references. The titles of the following weblinks have been translated from German into English and have been put in brackets. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses of "War Child", see War Child disambiguation.

Retrieved But the many wars in Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, the Gulf Region, and Afghanistan, to name but a few, also have their war children.

There is little public discussion about them [ The Forgotten Generation". My Parents' Love Story". Zeit Online in German. H-Soz-Kult in German. Forum der Psychoanalyse in German. Today, they are between 59 and 64 years old. At an age when one looks back at one's life, they are searching for the other half of their identity. Heute sind sie 59 bis 64 Jahre alt. Original: Vater blieb im Krieg.

Kindheit ohne Vater nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Childhood in War" [Childhood in War] in German. Grundlagen kollektiven Verhaltens [ The Inability to Mourn. They do not leave the house without taking the most necessary things; food can not be thrown away, and war images on TV are difficult to bear: Around 15 million people in Germany grew up during the Second World War.

Fear, death and hunger belong to their earliest childhood experiences. Weltkriegs aufgewachsen sind. Eine deutsche Familiengeschichte [ Silence Hurts. Spiegel Online in German. He was a staunch Nazi, a war criminal, and a loving father: Hanns Elard Ludin. Als ich die deutsche Fahne hisste" [Debate about National Identity.

Frankfurter Allgemeine in German. Detailed reviews can be found there as well. About two child-raising books ], edition psychosozial in German 6 ed. Welt N24 in German. Projektbeteiligte" [Imprint. Project Carriers. Project Participants]. Jugend in Deutschland — in German. Erziehung in der NS-Zeit" [History. Child Raising in Nazi Germany]. Lebendiges Museum Online in German. Promotional poster for Hitler youth]. A Delayed Awakening? Hartmut Radebold about childhood during the Second World War].

Das Interview in German. Bildungszentrum Bad Bederkesa. Two documentaries, aired on SWR on Sunday, December 12, , describing how Switzerland during and after the war became a shelter from persecution or hunger. Badische Zeitung. Little was known about this aspect of history. Der Spiegel in German. When someone as a young child had to constantly sit in an air-raid shelter, surrounded by falling beams, when someone was carried through burning cities, then a state of anxious arousal follows.

While one can no longer consciously remember, the body does not forget. How Our Fears Live On. Original: Wir Kriegskinder. Wie die Angst in uns weiterlebt. An ARD documentary describes the trauma in German families. Der Tagesspiegel in German. Wie die Angst in uns weiter lebt" [Us War Children. Das evangelische Onlinemagazin in German. Alter und Trauma. Those affected must be able to experience that, unlike then, they are no longer alone today.

Generation Golf? The Golf Generation? The Prosperity Children of the 60's and 70's re-invent themselves]. For me, it was sufficient to hear what my mother had told me: That nothing terrible had happened during the war. We are continuing to operate our site to provide a quick guide to events, to maintain a bilingual web presence for grand-children of war, and to set our own priorities.

We want […] to offer an exchange site for people who are looking for contact with others, relating to the topic "Impact Of the Wartime Era". Restricted codes and closed reference systems should be avoided. Each new book should try to incorporate the most recent pedagogical and psychological discoveries about education and society in order to increase the emancipatory value of the book. By this I mean that the structure and contents of a children's book should be geared, no matter how fantastic the subject matter and style, toward helping children understand how to work together to free their own individual talents and to overcome obstacles which may be preventing their free development.

In this respect the entire question of book production and the reception of a book must be reconsidered to include the participation of children in the entire process. Ultimately, if this is done, the term classical will take on another, more authentic meaning. No doubt, some classical books deserve their status because they were written to speak, and continue to speak, to children's real needs. Most have unfortunately retained classical status because they are still useful in the indoctrination of children to the standards of a ruling class and also serve the market needs of the book industry.

It is from this historical-materialist perspective, then, one which corresponds to the socialist critique of the New Left in West Germany, 3 that I shall be using the term classical, and here the two books Struwwelpeter and Heidi are perfect models of the classical German children's book. Not only have all children in German-speaking countries from the late nineteenth century to the present been predominantly influenced by these two books, but children in America as well. Struwwelpeter was written in by the physician Heinrich Hoffmann, who could not find an appropriate book for his three-year-old son and decided to write his own, based on stories he used to tell his young patients to prevent them from becoming disruptive and getting upset.

Up through there have been over six hundred different German editions and numerous translations, not to mention the hundreds of imitations and parodies. There is hardly a German adult or child who does not know that Struwwelpeter is everything one is not supposed to become, the model of the disobedient child who never cuts his fingernails and lets his hair grow wild—in short, a barbarian. The rhymed, illustrated stories which follow our introduction to him present a composite picture of Struwwelpeter: evil Peter, who tortures animals and people with a whip, and who is finally bitten by a dog and put to bed; little Pauline, who plays with matches and burns herself to death; three boys who make fun of a Negro and are then dipped in black ink as punishment by a stern adult; the wild hunter, who loses his rifle and is shot by a rabbit; Konrad the thumb-sucker, who has his thumbs cut off because he persists in sucking; Kaspar, who wastes away to nothing because he refuses to eat his soup; Phillip, who is smothered by a tablecloth because he will not sit still at the table; Robert, who goes out into a storm and is carried away forever by a huge wind; Hans, who never watches where he walks and almost drowns while walking near a pond.

All the stories are written to frighten the young reader, and the illustrations are correspondingly gruesome and terrifying. Adults generally find them comical. Only one of the stories involves a little girl. As always, the assumption is made that little girls are more docile and obedient than little boys, who are terrors.

Hoffmann's picture of what a little boy is and how he should be treated is an accurate reflection of the general Biedermeier Victorian attitude toward children: "Little children are to be seen, not heard," and if they are heard, they are to be punished severely. The danger of Struwwelpeter and its imitations stems from the fact that it can be easily comprehended by children from age two on and has indeed stamped the consciousness of German children for generations.

Struwwelpeter glorifies obedience to arbitrary authority, and in each example the children are summarily punished by the adult world. No clear-cut reasons are given for the behavior or the punishment; discipline is elevated above curiosity and creativity. It is not by chance, then, that this book has retained its bestseller, classical status to the present. Whether it will be superseded by the most recent parody, Der Anti-Struwwelpeter by Friedrich Karl Waechter, will depend on the general development of the new socialist children's literature.

In addition, there have been several film versions. In , Shirley Temple played Heidi in a sentimental Hollywood production. There have also been records, an opera, and an American musical based on the book.


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Like Struwwelpeter, Heidi is a conservative product of the nineteenth century which has been kept very much alive in the twentieth. Spyri, a devout Christian, projects a vision of a harmonious world which can only be held together by Judeo-Christian ethics and God himself. Briefly, her story concerns a five-year-old orphan, Heidi, who is sent to live on top of a Swiss mountain with her grandfather, a social outcast.

After three years, her aunt, who works in Frankfurt, comes to fetch her so that she can become a companion to a rich little girl who is crippled. Both the aunt and the rest of the Swiss village think it will be better for Heidi, for they have a low opinion of the grandfather and feel that Heidi needs to be educated. For the grandfather, who has come to love Heidi deeply, this is a devastating blow, and he becomes more of a misanthrope. In Frankfurt, Heidi turns a wealthy bourgeois household upside down with her natural ways, which are contrasted with the artificial and decadent ways of the city people.

Nevertheless, she endears herself to the grandmother, Klara the cripple, the businessman father, and their servants. Only the governess and teacher cannot grasp her "wild" ways. Eventually, Heidi becomes homesick for the mountains, and Klara's grandmother tells her to have faith in God, who will always help her. Indeed, as Heidi begins to wane, God interferes in the person of the doctor, who advises the businessman to return Heidi to the grandfather. When Heidi is sent back to the mountains, the grandfather is ecstatic and becomes convinced that it was an act of God which brought about the return of his granddaughter.

In this sense, Heidi is God's deputy and reconciles the grandfather to the rest of the community. Although there are abridged versions for younger children, Heidi was essentially written for the child ten and over. Quite opposite to Struwwelpeter , it concerns the experiences of a little girl, who is made into some kind of an extraordinary angel, a nature child with holy innocence, incapable of doing evil, gentle, loving, and kind. At first, she does not comprehend the world, but as she grows, everything is explained to her according to the accepted social and religious norms of the day.

Here it is important to see the pedagogical purpose of the narrative and its dependence on the traditional Bildungsroman. Heidi learns that the world is static and directed by God. Although she is disturbed that her grandfather and relatives are poor and must struggle merely to subsist, the grandmother in Frankfurt brings her to believe that God wants it that way and that material poverty is insignificant when one considers the real meaning of richness: to be rich means possessing faith in God and behaving like a good Christian—that is, making sacrifices to benefit the wealthy and looking forward to paradise in the world hereafter.

While the simple, pious community of the Swiss village is contrasted with the false, brutal life in the city, Spyri does nothing to explain the real contradictions between city and country. The hard life in the Swiss mountains becomes idyllic. There the people are pure and closer to God. The world of Switzerland caters to the escapist tendencies of readers who might seek release from the perplexing, difficult conditions of urban life. Heidi, too, is a figure of the infantile, regressive fantasy which desires a lost innocence that never was.

Since natural equals Christian in this book, there is no way in which children can comprehend what really is a natural or socially conditioned drive. In both instances, the classical stature of the books is closely linked to their commodity value.

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It is in opposition to classical books like Struwwelpeter and Heidi and in keeping with broad socialist goals that books like Waechter's Der Anti-Struwwelpeter 10 have come into existence. Since the recent production of anti-authoritarian and socialist children's literature depends heavily on the policies of collectives and publishing firms, three typical organizations and their products will serve as examples to illustrate the general tendencies in this field. The three are Basis, Weismann, and Rowohlt. Basis Verlag, like Oberbaum and Das rote Kinderbuch, 11 developed from a collective which worked in daycare and youth centers during the late s and has continued this work, largely in Berlin.

The members of Basis are socialists, who see their task as preparing the base for a new socialist society. Their main emphasis is on the production of books for children between the ages of four and twelve, although they have also produced a comic book and photographic story for apprentices who work in factories. In they also began publishing a complementary series of theoretical studies which either demonstrate how to use their own children's books or deal with general problems such as the ideological contents of pictures and illustrations and the real meaning of comic book heroes.

The Basis books for children were developed at a time when the anti-authoritarian phase of the New Left was coming to an end in West Germany—that is, the phase when arbitrary authority was defied for the sake of defying authority. Though there are some anti-authoritarian elements in Basis books, their main goal is to demonstrate how working collectively can lead to a greater sense of oneself and the world and to the resolution of problems confronting children in their everyday lives.

Then we called up our friends and asked them if they would like to dress up and play a knight, poet, king, or bear. And when they all said yes, then we acted out the entire story, and Ute photographed us. Dieter and Reiner printed the pictures and the story, and in the end, the bookbinders made the book into a real book. The story concerns two poets who want to write a book for children but really don't know children all that well.

Both think up traditional stories: one deals with a bear who is big and strong and goes fishing, and the other, with a loyal knight who departs to fight for his king. The two stories come together as the bear meets the knight in the woods. They decide to go play with the children in the local neighborhood set in the present instead of fishing and fighting.

The poets become angry that their heroes have abandoned their traditional roles and story-lines and go searching for them. They come across some knights who, sent by the king to fight against the peasants, have been soundly defeated. The poets complain that this normally does not happen in stories, but the knights argue that something is wrong with the usual stories since the peasants had never harmed them—that is, until the king had sent them to destroy the peasants. They all decide to turn against the king, and with the help of the bear, the loyal knight, and the children, they capture the king, stuff him, and set him up as a monument in a park as a warning to all monarchs.

The country then belongs to everyone and is renamed country of the knights, peasants, poets, bears, and children. Here the traditional manner of telling fairy tales which glorify feudalism is criticized in a novel way. The subtle use of photographs and comics adds to the Brechtian estrangement effect, which prompts children to think critically and creatively throughout the story.

The main difficulty with the narrative is that the social message and aesthetic innovations are perhaps too complex for a child to understand alone. This story uses only photographs and combines elements from well-known folktales to illustrate housing problems in the city. Four young people all in their twenties decide to live together: Schlienz, who can smell extraordinarily well; Minzl, who can hear long distances; Gorch, who can run faster than cars; and Atta, who is tremendously strong.

They rent an apartment, and the landlord tries to cheat them. However, they are too smart for him, and ultimately they set up a collective household which runs smoothly until the landlord raises the rent arbitrarily. The four decide to organize the tenants in the entire building to fight and protest the hike in rent, and they use their extraordinary talents to unite the tenants and take over the building. However, since the people come from different classes a teacher, bank clerk, metal worker, insurance inspector, and railroad worker and have different interests, the landlord is able to play upon the divisiveness in the coalition and, with the help of the police, defeat the strike.

Schlienz, Minzl, Gorch, and Atta are arrested. Nevertheless, while in prison, they reconsider their strategy and make plans so that they can be successful the next time they try to organize the tenants. The book closes with a series of newspaper articles about landlords cheating tenants. The photographs in this story combine humor with accurate depictions of housing conditions. The remarkable talents of the heroes are not so fantastic that they might lead children to have unreal expectations of their own powers.

Struwwelpeter

The fact that the four heroes two men and two women do not succeed shows to what extent the authors clearly understand the stage of the social struggle within the cities. Here the emphasis is not so much on gaining a victory but on creating a sense of need for collective action. When she goes on a quest to find out the answers, information about salaries, work conditions, rents, and social classes is conveyed to her and, of course, to the readers.

This information is incorporated into the story through questions, comics, photographs, and charts. After numerous adventures, Renate and two friends come across two young factory workers who spend time with them to clarify everything and who explain that the social contradictions can only be overcome by workers who learn to trust one another and cooperate to take over the means of production. Only through this type of action will the social disparities that confront Renate during the day be eliminated. Krach auf Kohls Spielplatz is for three-year-olds.

Andrea is troubled by Theo Kohl, who controls the playground because his father is rich and owns the construction company which employs most of the parents living in the housing settlement and neighborhood. Theo manages to bribe Joachim, the strongest boy, with candy to act as "law enforcer"—that is, until Andrea and the other children get together and unite to defeat Theo and Joachim and set up mutually beneficial rules of play.

Though the book is instructive in pointing out the link between a bully and the possession of money, the language and pictures of the story are so devoid of imagination that the message will have only a minimal effect upon young readers. This is not the case with Krokodil , written for and by five-year-olds. The book is a sort of documentary children's story, for it is based on a newspaper article about seven African children, who save one of their comrades with their bare hands from being devoured by a crocodile.

When the article was read to children in a preschool class and then discussed, the children reacted positively to the manner in which the African children united to protect their friend from the crocodile at the risk of their own lives. At one point the teacher introduced the idea of doing a picture book about this story together. The children were skeptical since they knew nothing about book production, but the teacher explained how books were put together and encouraged the children so that they realized it was possible to make their own book. After the children drew pictures and helped compose a text, they selected which pictures were to appear as illustrations.

The result: a unique book, with startling, colorful, and concrete pictures about collective action which reinforces not only the concept of solidarity but displays as well how the collective skills of children can be practically put to use to develop their own awareness of socially responsible action. Yet, they are not happy because all the profits go to the robbers, who use their weapons to intimidate the villagers.

Finally, the children, who are also forced to labor in a manner which they dislike, devise a plan to capture the robbers. The remarkable feature of this story is that it explains the aspects of robbery stemming from capitalist production in a concrete, humorous manner without becoming heavily theoretical.

The clear descriptions and explicit language of the narrative enhance the emancipatory value of this story, which is geared toward enabling young readers to understand the work process as a form of liberation. Generally speaking, Basis books are directly related to the actual class struggles in West Germany. The major figures are from the working class, and the contents of the stories are, broadly speaking, of utmost concern to the underprivileged in society and lead to developing class consciousness.

Some of the stories tend to be too didactic as if the significance of the message itself were enough to strike the imagination of children. Obviously, this is a failing which Basis of late has been attempting to rectify.

For the most part, the language of the books is vigorous and blunt; colloquialisms and curses are used because children are accustomed to hearing them in their surroundings—used to explain their surroundings. The authors do not talk down to the children. They employ a great deal of irony in the depictions, and the techniques of photography, comics, and montage dialectically enhance the communicability of the theory. The books are children's books in that the production is geared to a child's standpoint and in that children often participate in the production. At the same time, the books also transcend the category of "children" or "childish," for adults can learn and enjoy in producing and reading them.

The books of Weismann Verlag 15 also point in this direction. A socialist collective which is not as active as the Basis Verlag in day-care and youth centers, the Weismann group has published over ten books, mainly by teenagers. The Weismann books are not as directly concerned with immediate German social problems. One book, Herr Bertolt Brecht sagt Mr. Bertolt Brecht Says, , is a collection of anecdotes, stories, and poems by Brecht.

Book Reviews

Russische Kindheit Russian Childhood, by Arkadi Gaidar, a well-known author of children's books, is an autobiographical account of his experiences as a boy during the Russian Revolution. Eltern Spielen, Kinder Lernen Parents Play, Children Learn, by Wolfram Frommlet, Hans Mayhofer, and Wolfgang Zacharias is a handbook mainly for adults about how to start community groups which want to create better play conditions for children.

In general, the Weismann Verlag is more concerned with explaining social issues to teenagers and explicating socialist theories. Herhaus' book begins with a story about Poppie Hollenarsch, young daughter of an old-time Communist, who has become a drunkard and a cynic because the times are against him. Consequently, Poppie is neglected and flounders.

She decides that the only way to survive in a capitalist society is by selling oneself. So, she becomes a prostitute. At one point she meets a radical who takes a sincere interest in her and promises to explain to her what enlightenment means and why she is a victim of capitalism. The stories and anecdotes which follow are written in a blunt, crass manner and deal with the author's attempts to write a children's book while at the same time indirectly answering Poppie's questions by showing how children themselves must think dialectically and enlighten themselves about social conditions so that they will acquire the skills and knowledge to change the social system.

Rauter is even more theoretical in his book. His major thesis is that individuals are made in schools, that is, through education which consists of the home, movies, television, theater, radio, newspapers, books, and posters. Consequently, whoever controls the instruments of information is able to control mankind's consciousness and action. Using concrete examples, Rauter explains how the media and schools produce conformists and nonthinkers. With each point he makes, he draws closer to his conclusion that we all must turn the education process around so that we can control our lives and prevent further production of passive, perverse human beings.

Wallraff is a type of Ralph Nader , with the exception that Wallraff has dealt with exposing the sordid conditions in factories and business firms by working in them. Over the past seven years often with the help of pseudonyms and disguises he has held jobs in different plants and firms throughout West Germany and has revealed the exploitative methods of capitalists. His book is a report about his activities which begins with a description in diary form of how he was maltreated by the army as a conscientious objector and how he then worked at different factories, wrote for newspapers, and was subjected to harassment by big industry and the government.

The book closes with an account of how workers took over a glass factory in Immenhausen, prevented it from going bankrupt, and now run it collectively—a model for workers' control. All three of these Weismann books are noteworthy for the respect they pay teenagers. Words are not minced. These books are written in a clear, intelligible language which makes the theory and connections drawn to the social realities comprehensible for young readers.

Sparse illustrations, generally photographic montages, are used effectively to reveal existing contradictions in society. All Weismann books lay great emphasis on authenticity and documentation. Many are limited in their appeal to a young progressive intelligentsia because of their abstract quality, but their socialist perspective and edifying aspect provide a basis within the material itself for readers of all social classes to understand the theoretical arguments. In this sense, the difficulty presented by the Weismann publications lies not so much in the books themselves as in the educational system which restricts the use of such books in the classroom.

Most notably, Rowohlt Verlag, one of the largest and best houses in West Germany, has started a series called Rotfuchs Red Fox under the general editorship of Uwe Wandrey. The series began in April , and well over sixty inexpensive paperbacks with superb artwork and photography have been published since then.

Most of the authors are already well known in West Germany. It is to Wandrey's credit that he has encouraged authors and artists who normally work for the adult world only to concern themselves with children's needs. The general policy of Rotfuchs is one of cultural pluralism. That is, the series contains books which range in their critique of society from mildly reformist to socialist. The age groups addressed are anywhere from five to fourteen. Some of the books are limited in their appeal to a distinct age group, whereas others cut across age and social class differences. Here are brief summaries of seven books which will convey an impression of the spectrum of this series.

Angela Hopf's Die grosse Elefanten Olympiade The Great Elephant Olympics, , ages is a critique of the do-or-die achievement ethos of sports, especially the Olympics. With amusing, unusual illustrations of elephants competing against one another, Hopf brings out in her narrative how sports can be fun. Here a young man invents a table cloth and a magic stick which are expropriated by a factory owner in order to intimidate the workers and hold them in his power.

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However, the young inventor joins with his fellow-workers, who had participated in the development of the inventions, to foil the owner's plot. In the end, they take charge of the factory and their own lives. Here, too, the illustrations are pertinent, subtle, and comical. Waechter has also illustrated a selection of the Grimms' fairy tales, Der kluge Knecht The Smart Knave, , ages with an important afterword by Wandrey about the social content of fairy tales. After he mistakenly paints XY on people whom he suspects to be criminal, the young boy is severely punished by his parents.

Consequently, he decides to run away, and he comes across a mysterious stranger in the woods who helps and comforts him. The stranger turns out to be the wanted thief, with whom the boy decides to live until both are captured by the police. Here the illustrations are stark and photogenic. There is no preaching, but the boy learns that there is another side to criminality than that which he views on television. He has a quarrel with her, and she disappears. Helmut goes looking for her and winds up by exploring the entire city, which becomes his playground.

After several hours of seeing different aspects of city life, Helmut returns home only to find that his sister had been hiding in the cellar. Both promise not to upset their parents by telling what happened during the day. The story is filled with photos of Helmut in the city that depict social and work conditions. Helmut is pictured neither as cute nor heroic, but rather curious and alert. He responds to an emergency situation with remarkable calm and understanding. Hellmuth Costard's Herberts Reise ins Land der Uhren Herbert's Journey to the Country of the Clocks, , ages is filled with lively illustrations picturing Herbert in situations where he learns how compulsive and murderous people become under the pressure of time.

In this sense the journey is beneficial because Herbert and the young reader as well realizes that time cannot be allowed to control his life. The main intent of the stories is to demonstrate how children learn through conflict and that serious conflicts dominate their lives, which are not as rosy as most children's books portray or adults think. This theme is continued in Heike Hornschuh's Ich bin 13 I'm 13, , ages 12 and up recorded by Simone Bergmann, with photographs of Heike, her family, and friends.

Here a young girl gives a candid account of her life and views of family, sex, society, the role of women, and her possibilities for a career. The advantage of the left-liberal policy of the Rotfuchs series is also its disadvantage. The Rotfuchs books speak to many different audiences and propose various alternatives to the existing social system. Some indicate revolution, some reform. Some see change coming about by developing the creative and cognitive faculties of children while others seek to raise class consciousness.

The mode of portrayal ranges from the parable, fable, and surreal to the realistic and documentary. The language is generally high German, although slang is used. Dialects are avoided.


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All classes of children are lumped together, and no overall didactic goal can be ascertained, except to say that the series wants to teach critical thinking. This is its disadvantage since many of the books in the series contradict one another and are at odds in their fundamental educational goals. Without a clear-cut policy, the books will be consumed indiscriminately by children who will learn to tolerate different views but not really learn how to think critically in a social context and historical manner. There can be no doubt that the new socialist children's books are changing the style and contents of children's books published by the more liberal and conservative firms.

The socialist books have been especially influential in several ways. They use plain, everyday language which corresponds to that most familiar to both children and adults. It is intelligible and clear but not childish and simplistic, and it serves to enhance the learning ability of the readers, not to compensate for inadequate education.

Story-lines address themselves to actual problems in present-day Germany. Boys and girls are treated as equals, and traditional role-playing is brought into question. The heroes and the heroines are the collective. Emphasis is placed on struggle and solidarity. The perspective of the story is a general socialist one. The resolution of problems is not made easy, for there is no happy end. Photographs and comics are used in unique ways to convey a clear picture of social conditions and contradictions.

The art work is subtle and fosters original thinking and appreciation. Socialist theory helps clarify the social disparities encountered by children in concrete situations. The production of the books is geared to the reception by children. An earnest attempt is made by the producers either to involve children in the production process or to write books which pertain to the interests of children and stimulate class consciousness and solidarity. For the most part, socialist children's literature pays a great deal of attention to the production of books in relation to pedagogical praxis.

As Dieter Richter has noted, 19 the books serve to bring together adults and children and to promote a common critical and creative activity. These books are not to be consumed and forgotten, but to be discussed and used as tools for the development of each participant's full abilities. Some of the contributions and innovations made by socialist children's literature are not new, and some will be appropriated by the more conservative literature.

Nevertheless, the socialist children's literature is forcing producers of children's literature in general to grow up and respect the intelligence of children and deal with their problems in earnest instead of writing the usual condescending, unreal, and trivial stories. Here the positive effect of socialist children's literature is clear.

But will it survive? Aside from the fact that fewer and fewer people read in West Germany, the socialist children's literature tends to appeal mainly to children of the progressive intelligentsia, or, in other words, the children of the producers. This dilemma can only be solved as more contact with educational institutions and the working classes is established.

As Beate Scheunemann points out, socialist children's literature can only become effective if it is part of practical agitation, which means class struggle at the schools. The reason for this, as Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge have remarked, is that:. It does not allow itself to be organized in small groups. When children attempt to organize for themselves and herein regulate their lives, it cannot be their intention to pay for their freedom of space by completely withdrawing from reality and withdrawing from the adult world, which is the prime link to the source of all objects together and to the children.

Therefore, the public sphere of children cannot be brought about without a material public sphere which connects the parents, and without public spheres of children at all levels and in all classes of society which are able to be brought into contact with one another…. Self-organization and self-regulation of children will be just as vehemently disputed by all kinds of authoritarian interests as is the self-organization of the proletariat. Whoever thinks that the public sphere of children is a grotesque idea will have difficulty conceiving what the public sphere of the proletariat really is.

Negt and Kluge argue that the public sphere has historically become dominated and institutionalized mainly by the bourgeoisie, and there is no sector of public education, communication, assembly, production, or distribution which does not serve the interests of this ruling class.

For society to become truly free, democratic, and socialist, they assert that a proletarian public sphere must be created so that people will become aware of their own genuine material needs and desires and the ways to fulfill these needs and desires. This means an intrusion into the bourgeois public sphere. In this regard, a children's literature which truly speaks to the material needs and desires of children, whether it be expressly socialist or democratic, must by necessity contradict and challenge the bourgeois public sphere.

By earnestly attempting to establish a children's viewpoint—a public sphere of children—it immediately aligns itself with proletarian interests i. The question is whether the children's public sphere can actually emerge and make itself felt, which is a question of organization and distribution. Concomitantly there is a problem of co-optation, whereby the bourgeois public sphere appropriates the new forms developed in behalf of children and the proletariat.

To be more precise, most of the books produced by Basis and Weismann are handled by radical bookstores or are sold through the mail. The real success of socialist children's literature will depend ultimately on who controls the market for children's books. Though the immediate prospects for socialist children's literature are not rosy, a struggle has commenced which suggests that the days of the "classics" are numbered and that literature for children will make more sense and be more lively.

This struggle will not be settled overnight, and the new socialist children's literature reflects this. In this respect, its ultimate worth will depend on how we in the West not only in West Germany value the future we glimpse in the eyes of our children. There has been such a prodigious output of noteworthy studies that it would take a small pamphlet to list them all. Some of the more important ones are: Johannes Beck et al. For the most recent criticism by the New Left, see the special issues of Kursbuch , vol. Dieter Richter and Jochen Vogt Reinbek, Klaus Doderer Weinheim, , pp.

Otto F. Darmstadt, Waechter's book transforms all the stories into their opposites. It is more than a simple parody in that it incorporates emancipatory features into a critique of authoritarian behavior. Karl Ernst Maier Bad Heilbrunn, , pp. The title of the comic book is Lehrlingsfront 1 , and the photographic story, Liebe Mutter, mir geht es gut. Weismann has recently joined with Raith Verlag of Munich, a progressive firm which has concentrated on publishing books dealing with psychology and education.

Ellermann has published one of the pioneer books in the anti-authoritarian tradition, Elisabeth Borcher's Das rote Haus in einer kleinen Stadt. Kindler has issued an anti-authoritarian story, Ein Roter Zug will fliegen by Ivan Steiger, and some important studies about children and children's literature by Otto F. Gmelin and Monika Sperr. Richter's essay is the best one on the subject of radical children's literature. He has also edited a most significant collection of essays dealing with socialist children's literature, Das politische Kinderbuch Darmstadt, The picture book has proved to be a fruitful field of study for inquiries into the narrative potential of the fixed image.

It has generated a rather sophisticated body of theory over the last 20 years or so, which leaves the conventional view of the picture book as a basically verbal artifact supported by pictures far behind. Contemporary studies of the picture book approach its pictorial dimension as an independent semiotic system in its own right, which does not necessarily concur with the verbal component, rather than as a mere prop to the verbal story. Both words and images make their own relatively autonomous contribution to the overall semantic, aesthetic and emotional effect of the picture book.

Therefore, it has often been observed that the picture book is closer to other mixed narrative forms such as drama or film than to verbal fiction. Given the general consensus on the substantial weight of both pictorial and verbal narrative codes in the picture book, it is only logical that many studies attempt to give an overview of the different types of interaction between words and images in this surprisingly complex art form. With this purpose in mind, scholarship on the picture book has devoted considerable attention to the issue of 'irony'. According to Perry Nodelman, words and pictures can never simply repeat or parallel each other, because of the inherent differences between verbal and visual modes of communication.

They can, however, visually demonstrate attitudes, while words are incapable of directly expressing emotion through shape and color. Because visual and verbal modes of communication are subject to diverging sets of constraints, the images in a picture book can never simply illustrate the words, but will necessarily offer different types of information to the reader: "As a result, the relationships between pictures and texts in picture books tend to be ironic: each speaks about matters on which the other is silent" p. Others think Nodelman's thesis about the endemic nature of irony in the picture book is overstated, and that one would do better to draw up a taxonomy that could do justice to the whole spectrum of different word-image interactions in picture books, ranging from relatively harmonious concord to blatant contradiction.

Thus, Maria Nikolajeva and Carole Scott have come up with the categories of symmetrical, enhancing, complementary, counterpointing and contradictory interaction. In symmetrical interaction, words and pictures basically repeat each other. When they enlarge each other's semantic range, we are dealing with enhancing interaction, which may culminate in complementary interaction, when words and pictures make truly independent contributions to one and the same story line.

Only the last two categories coincide with Nodelman's concept of the inherently ironical picture book. In the case of counterpointing interaction, words and images generate meanings "beyond the scope of either one alone" p. In this article, I would like to go deeper into the potential of word-image combinations to generate stories, while contributing to the debate about irony in the picture book through a detailed analysis of Heinrich Hoffmann's Der Struwwelpeter, oder lustige Geschichten und drollige Bilder Thus, the book provides us with the opportunity to study the word-image dynamic in embryo.

It originated as a Christmas gift for his 4-year-old son Carl in Hoffmann, who practised medicine in Frankfurt, wanted to buy his son a book, but he could not find anything to his liking in the Frankfurt bookstores. Books for young children were too moralistic and didactic, in his view, and he was displeased with their illustrations. These, he felt, were too smooth, too realistic, too unimaginative to interest young children. And so he set about creating a picture book of his own, which did not only turn him into one of the first, but also one of the most successful creators of a "pictorialized" 8 narrative in the history of German literature.

Der Struwwelpeter was not only a bestseller, but also a spectacular longseller. It has gone through some editions and is still in print today. Certainly, this fact in itself is enough to make anyone wonder what the secret could be of the enduring appeal of this picture book. However, I do not want to use Der Struwwelpeter merely as an accessory to the semiotics of word-image combinations. I would also like to demonstrate that theories of word-image relations in mixed genres such as the comic strip and the photo-novel may clarify a controversy that has dogged the Struwwelpeter research industry for decades at a stretch, namely the question of whether Hoffmann's tales propagate or undermine a repressive pedagogical regime.

Some have it that Der Struwwelpeter advocates the harsh and cruel subjection of naughty children, others argue on the contrary that he ridicules adult authority.

Full interview

Siding with the latter party, I hope to point out that contemporary insights into visual narrativity may help to shed new light on this issue. Hoffmann's book opens with a frontispiece that functions as a "visual prologue", p. The visual prologue offers important clues to the interpretation of what is to follow. The page lay-out of the frontispiece has been composed out of three symmetrical sections. The top section displays an angelic creature with wings and a crown who holds out a picture book and is sided by two illuminated Christmas trees.

The bottom section contains a picture of a boy who is eating his soup at the dinner table. Judging from their clothes and their size, these three boys are one and the same person. Where the left-right division of the page is concerned, we may observe that the angel is positioned in the middle of the top section. This position is mirrored by the boy in the bottom section. The ethereal nature of the angelic creature is emphasized by the fact that its feet are hidden from view.

It is not grounded in any sort of way, it simply floats, in contrast to the picture of the boy at the dinner table, which conspicuously displays the legs of both table and chair, firmly putting the boy on the ground. Thus, the frontispiece turns heaven and earth into contiguous domains. In other words, there is a certain give-and-take between heaven and earth. These connotations will prove to be important to the interpretation of the picture book as a whole, as I shall point out later on.

Turning the page, we are confronted with the title story. It features the icon of a boy on an ornamental pedestal sporting exceedingly long hair and fingernails. The pedestal is decorated by a comb and a scissors, which flank the inscription of the accompanying text as ornamental trophies.

The words of the title story are uttered by the same "voice of authority" who produced the lines on the frontispiece, namely an external narrator who does not figure as a character in the scenes presented to us. The messages uttered on the frontispiece and the title story are complementary to each other. In the first case, juvenile readers are lured into identification with the obedient children in the pictures through the promise of a gift, while they are discouraged from identifying themselves with the filthy boy in the title story through the threat of physical discomfort.

Shock-headed Peter is offered up to the juvenile reader as an object of ridicule and disgust. The public is supposed to scoff at him, in unison with the external narrator. The title story exhorts the audience to bond with the voice of authority at the expense of the young protagonist of the story, who is put in the pillory as a target of disidentification.

The word-image dynamic in the title story is theatrical rather than dramatic in the strict sense of the word. The verbal story represents the events from the point of view of the child hero, but in the pictures the main characters tend to figure as the object rather than the subject of focalization, that is, the picture represents the child, rather than the field of vision of the main character. In the case of Der Struwwelpeter , both words and pictures are external.

Shock-headed Peter does not get to speak a single line, nor do the other children in the stories that are to follow, but for the one exception of "Suppen-Kaspar". Just like the frontispiece, this already gives us a foretaste of the tight fit between the words and the pictures of Der Struwwelpeter.

The pictures act out the words quite literally and vice versa. The juvenile reader is invited to cast a scornful glance upon this depraved child and therefore the accompanying picture puts him up for exposure. The frontispiece and the title story together set the stage for what is to follow. They suggest that we will be presented with a collection of cautionary tales which instill notions of appropriate behaviour into the audience by confronting readers with the consequences of certain deeds.

These consequences function as so many rewards or punishments mostly the latter. At first glance, the subsequent stories seem to meet these expectations. They all demonstrate how childish peccadilloes such as sucking one's thumb, playing with matches, or refusing nourishment have grave consequences that seriously endanger, mutilate and sometimes even kill the youthful transgressors. If we want to subsume the misdeeds in the Struwwelpeter stories under a common denominator, one could say that the various child protagonists are all guilty of being unable to control their spontaneous bodily impulses.

As soon as they begin to move about while giving in to this or that urgent inclination, they are in for trouble. In other words, they all fail to conform to the quiet and subdued types of behaviour displayed by the frontispiece. The rather severe punishments of near death by drowning, burning, or starving are rarely meted out by authorities such as parents, nannies or schoolmasters, except for "Der Daumenlutscher," whose thumbs are cut off by a tailor's scissors.

In general, there hardly seems to be any need for human intention or intervention here. Evil punishes itself in Der Struwwelpeter through merciless cause-and-effect chains that are forged by ineradicable natural laws. Words and pictures closely cooperate to evoke the appearance of objectivity and inevitability in the Struwwelpeter stories.

Charles Frey has remarked upon "the compulsive balance and symmetry of Hoffmann's illustrations," claiming that "formality and rigidity pervade even the silliest of his pictures" p. The pictures indeed obey rigid codes in certain respects. The critical moment at which a child decides to ignore an interdiction is always clearly indicated by visual signs. Except for "Suppen-Kaspar", the child protagonists are drawn en face as long as they stay in their proper place.

They are drawn en profil as soon as they decide to follow their own impulses, which is always a sure sign that their lives will be at stake within a few moments. Furthermore, the pictures tend to represent the consequences of the deeds that are reported in the verbal text In other words, the pictures usually depict phenomena that succeed the events recorded by the words.

If we are told that "Suppen-Kaspar" literally starves himself to death, the final picture does not show his corpse, but his tombstone. A rather humorless word-picture dynamic, or so it seems! Another possible argument to underscore the supposedly authoritative, repressive nature of this collection of stories could be derived from the 'choruses' and other devices for driving home the moralistic message and curbing the children's freedom to interpret the stories as they like.

Choruses in a theatrical drama generally perform the function of moulding the audience's attitude towards the events represented. This face is 'making faces' in reaction to the events displayed: disapproval at disobedience, satisfaction at punishment. At this point, one may well wonder how the epithets "lustig" and "drollig" apply to the Struwwelpeter stories. What could possibly be so funny about all this? It is time for a second look. If we subject the visual narrativity of Der Struwwelpeter to a closer analysis, we may chance upon a whole array of features that complicate the comments given in the above.

Let us return to the title story for a moment.

Don Giovanni

I have suggested that the child protagonist is presented to the juvenile reading audience as a target of scorn. However, the style in which Shock-headed Peter has been drawn invites us to reconsider this interpretation. Like all the other characters in Der Struwwelpeter , he has been drawn in an emphatically clumsy manner. This is how children draw puppets: facing the spectator, with stiff, slightly spread arms and legs.

Although Hoffmann earned his living as a doctor and dabbled in the composition of picture books, this does not mean that he could not do any better than that. Hoffmann's extensive account of the origins of Der Struwwelpeter points out that he purposefully aimed at imitating childish doodles to make his book amenable to the very young audience he had in mind year olds.

The pictures are likely to give child readers the idea that they could easily achieve something like that as well, a first step towards overcoming dislike.



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