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All for nothing by Walter Kempowski
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All for nothing (2006)

by Walter Kempowski

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a great book.. th time is 1945, the place is east Prusssia, and the Russians are coming; we never hear of them again. Once again, the farm is the location of the action. All kinds of people visit, including a hungry pastor. The lady of the
house lets in a Jew,and is caught, A young boy escapes through Danzig, and the person who causes his escspe is an old Nazi ( )
  annbury | Jul 22, 2018 |
Een gezin op een landgoed in Oost-Pruisen, waarvan de man als militair in Italië dient, sluit de ogen voor de realiteit: de Russen rukken steeds meer westwaarts op. Hele kolonnes vluchtelingen passeren het domein of vragen onderdak. Als de dagdromende vrouw des huizes, Katharina, op vraag van pastoor Brahms een jood verbergt, wordt zij gearresteerd. Een oudere verwante, Tantchen, die de boel bereddert, besluit tenslotte te vertrekken, samen met twee niet-Duitse bedienden. Onderweg worden zij bedrogen en beroofd en door een bommenwerper bestookt. Alleen de 12-jarige zoon, Peter, overleeft de calvarietocht. Hij zwerft een tijd te midden van de gruwel rond, trekt even met zijn oud-leraar Wagner op, en wordt tenslotte door een buurman, de nazi Drygalski, op de laatste boot geduwd die nog kan uitvaren. ( )
  joucy | Apr 13, 2017 |
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Epigraph
To save our souls from sin, dear Lord,
Our lives are all in vain.
Only Thy grace and Holy Word
Obliterate its stain.

Martin Luther (1524)
Dedication
For Jörg
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Book description
Winter, January 1945. It is cold and dark, and the German army is retreating from the Russian advance. Germans are fleeing the occupied territories in their thousands, in cars and carts and on foot. But in a rural East Prussian manor house, the wealthy von Globig family tries to seal itself off from the world. Peter von Globig is twelve, and feigns a cough to get out of his Hitler Youth duties, preferring to sledge behind the house and look at snowflakes through his microscope. His father Eberhard is stationed in Italy - a desk job safe from the front - and his bookish and musical mother Katharina has withdrawn into herself. Instead the house is run by a conservative, frugal aunt, helped by two Ukrainian maids and an energetic Pole. Protected by their privileged lifestyle from the deprivation and chaos around them, and caught in the grip of indecision, they make no preparations to leave, until Katharina's decision to harbour a stranger for the night begins their undoing. Superbly expressive and strikingly vivid, sympathetic yet painfully honest about the motivations of its characters, All for Nothing is a devastating portrait of the self-delusions, complicities and denials of the German people as the Third Reich comes to an end. [Amazon.co.uk]
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"The last novel by one of Germany's most important postwar writers, All for Nothing was published in Germany in 2006, just before Walter Kempowski's death. It describes with matter-of-fact clarity and acuity, and a roving point of view, the atmosphere in East Prussia during the winter of 1944-1945 as the German forces are in retreat and the Red Army approaches. The von Globig family's manor house, the Georgenhof, is falling into a state of disrepair. Auntie runs the estate as best she can since Eberhard von Globig, a special officer in the German army, went to war, leaving behind his beautiful but vague wife, Katharina, and her bookish twelve-yearold son, Peter. As the road beside the house fills with Germans fleeing the occupied territories, the Georgenhof receives strange visitors--a Nazi violinist, a dissident painter, a Baltic baron, even a Jewish refugee--but life continues in the main as banal, wondrous, and complicit as ever for the main characters, until their caution, their hedged bets and provisions, their wondering, and their denial are answered by the wholly expected events they haven't allowed themselves to imagine"--… (more)

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