Narratives Transcending Borders: Sabrina Janesch’s "Katzenberge" as a German Response to Polish Migration Literature
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Słowa kluczowe

Polish-German border narratives
Paweł Huelle
Stefan Chwin
Günter Grass
Silesia
Galicia
Gdańsk

Jak cytować

Naumann, S. (2020). Narratives Transcending Borders: Sabrina Janesch’s "Katzenberge" as a German Response to Polish Migration Literature. Bibliotekarz Podlaski, 47(2), 157-171. https://doi.org/10.36770/bp.475

Abstrakt

The establishment of the Oder-Neisse border between Poland and Germany, as well as the westward shift of Poland’s eastern border resulted in migration for tens of millions in regions that had already been devastated by nearly a decade of forced evacuation, flight, war and genocide. In Poland, postwar authors such as Gdańsk’s own Stefan Chwin and Paweł Huelle have begun to establish a fascinating narrative connecting now-Polish spaces with what are at least in part non-Polish pasts. In Germany, meanwhile, coming to terms with a past that includes the Vertreibung, or forced migration, of millions of Germans during the mid-1940s has been limited at best, in no small part on account of its implication of Germans in the role of victim. In her 2010 debut novel Katzenberge, however, German author Sabrina Janesch employs a Polish migration story to connect with her German readers. Her narrator, like Janesch herself, is a young German who identifies with her Polish grandfather, whose death prompts her to trace the steps of his flight in 1945 from a Galician village to (then) German Silesia. This narrative, I argue, resonates with Janesch’s German audience because the expulsion experience is one with which they can identify. That it centers on Polish migration, however, not only avoids the context of guilt associated with German migration during World War II, but also creates an opportunity to better comprehend their Polish neighbors as well as the geographical spaces that connect them. Instead of allowing border narratives to be limited by the very border they attempt to define, engaging with multiple narratives of a given border provide enhanced meanings in local and national contexts and beyond. 

https://doi.org/10.36770/bp.475
PDF (English)

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