Belonging Response #1

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    • #31786

      What strikes you about Krug’s graphic memoir?

      One of the first things that caught my attention was the style of creating the family “tree” – the use of mixed media of photos and sketches. I was inspired to work on making sense of our own family’s story of connection! As a whole, my students either love, or not, a graphic novel/text. But this book does also seem to reach and would appeal to even my most linear-text-reading students. One of my former students even responded to my social media post about reading this book; she had read the book in the original German while she was in Germany. Something about the use of images, reproductions, text, and illustrations makes this an accessible book. I also loved the use of the framing as a “Memory Archivist” as she navigates each chapter/section of her journey.

      What, if anything, did you learn about the Holocaust and its resonances in German life? This can be something large or small, a fact or a feeling.

      Each time I read or hear a (Holocaust) story, I learn and/or amplify and build upon prior knowledge and learning. Of course, the complicated family dynamics struck me. The way the brothers’ relationship, and thus the whole family future, was impacted by the ways they each approached the acts of war. Yet, those superimposed photos/images hit me. My two uncles fought in Germany during WW!!, and only one returned. I listen to the stories and hear the impact on the remaining family members. Uncle Bob’s death stayed in their hearts and minds forever. In reading Krug’s account of her father’s family, that impact lasted, and manifested in so many ways; yes, what I learned about the Holocaust is that, like other political and social conflicts, a family can be torn apart, and hang by a loose thread. I also had amplified and reinforced understanding of how profound and damaging the propaganda and grooming of young people was, perhaps, some of the most damaging.

      How do you respond to Krug’s use of the concept of “Heimat” (ie: home, longing, belonging to a real or imaginary place)? How does this concept play out in your life?

      “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” (Wendall Berry) Acknowledgement that sense of place is something that is deeply important to Krug’s use of the concept ‘Heimat” – she expresses her love and shame and revulsion and care during this return to Germany. These deep-rooted feelings matter, and seem to be part of most people’s worlds. I wonder about those who become untethered to this Hiemut – how does one create or build a new foundation of belonging when one crumbles? How did those Holocaust survivors tangle with a heimut that betrayed them, and then have to create or swerve to a new place and space…and how much did the deep-rooted heimut sneak up? In my own experience, there are solid underpinnings, some known and surface, but many emerge unexpected and silent, from somewhere, and I realize that my beliefs and values, habits and convictions are my sort of heimut.

    • #31790

      How cool that one of your students read this in German and connected with you about that!

      I agree the that the various modes of images was cool. I wish I knew German so I could have read more of the documents she included in German. I do love seeing original works with the messiness of writing and notes though.

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