Jurij Koch’s Sorbian Memoir of Life Before, During, and After the GDR, by John K. Cox

Book Reviews John K. Cox Jurij Koch / Courtesy of Domowina-Verlag In the 1950s, a girl whom Jurij Koch knew in high school moved away from their hometown of Cottbus in East Germany. It was a case, he says in his recent memoir, of “Weg von Ulbricht, hin zu Adenauer” (Away from Ulbricht, over to Adenauer). Her mother took the girl to the West, before the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. This is a familiar enough arc of events, but, as it turns out, the motivation behind the move is probably not something that most people outside of Germany would have considered. The reason was ethnic. Little Greta was growing up surrounded by Sorbs in the southeastern part of the country. The Sorbian language reminded her mother of Polish, and she had had quite enough of the Poles in her pre-1945 home farther east. In addition, Greta’s family was Protestant and they felt awash in a “Catholic sea.” So off they went, leaving the author of this autobiography—who, well, yes, had a crush on Greta—scratching his head. Like so many other scenes in this engaging book, this story blends the customary with the unexpected to stretch our understanding of what is “German.” Like so many other scenes in this engaging book, Koch’s memoir blends the customary with the unexpected to stretch our understanding of what is “German.” Windrad auf dem Dach (Domowina-Verlag, 2016) is the second volume of Koch’s memoirs to be published in German. Currently in his... Continue reading at 'World Literature Today'

[ World Literature Today | 2020-01-27 20:47:13 UTC ]
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