A Past Without Shadow (Children's Literature and Culture) by Zohar Shavit

By Zohar Shavit

A earlier with out Shadow examines 50 years of German kid's books during which the darkest horrors of the 3rd Reich have regularly remained hidden. The horrors of the 3rd Reich are systematically screened and filtered, permitting the darker, bleaker elements of background to flee illumination. the following Zohar Shavit explores 345 German books for kids describing the 3rd Reich and the Holocaust, and reveals a stunning distortion of the prior: a recurrent narrative which implies that the Germans themselves had no hand within the pain inflicted at the Jews. those books, Shavit argues, have created the fake ancient lesson that the genuine sufferers of Hitler's crimes have been the German humans themselves. First released to nice acclaim in Hebrew and now on hand in English, this ebook is a warning call for an individual concerned with German kid's literature and its accountability to prior and destiny.

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Nonetheless, Stuffer issued only three books from the series—Erwin kommt nach Schweden, Die Kinder auf der Insel (The Children on the Island), and Mirjam in Amerika (Miryam in America). The plots of these three books were all set outside Germany, conducive to their being considered more “universal” in content. The tendency to transform the books’ political and critical message into a universal message on international compassion was also stressed in advertising by the publisher; the children were cast in the role of bearers of hope for the future—“Join hands and make the future better” (“Reicht euch die Hände und macht die Zukunft besser”).

262). Tetzner’s husband, Kurt Kläber, was also convinced that the muted response to her work was intentional. In a letter to Sauerländer (June 9,1959), he contended that the series had been spurned because Tetzner was viewed as a renegade, a “Nestbekleckerung” who had denigrated her own country (cited in Bolius 1995, p. 260). Sales abroad were brisk, exceeding 500,000 copies (Bolius 1995, p. 258), but interest in Germany remained thin. Tobias Greuter’s aforementioned letter relates that the books did not sell well, and that in 1968 Sauerländer’s sales agents stopped recommending the work to booksellers.

Because only part of the series was published, Tetzner’s original conception of a complete chronicle of the Third Reich was never fully realized (Weinkauff 1995a, p. 46). Notwithstanding their relatively early publication, Tetzner’s books merited only scant attention in postwar Germany. Critics ignored them, and for many years there was little public interest in the series as a whole (Otto 1981, p. 149; Weinkauff 1995a, p. 47). Tetzner died in 1963; the lack of critical interest in her work continued into the late 1970s.

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