Response to “Belonging”

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    • #31765

      Nora Krug’s “Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home” is a deeply affecting graphic memoir that takes us on a journey through a past both intimate and universal. I am most struck by how it challenges us to confront the long shadows of history and the individual responsibility we have in acknowledging and understanding it.

      Through Krug’s probing inquiry into her own family history, we witness the inescapable resonances of the Holocaust in German life. It’s not just about the large-scale atrocities that we often discuss in classrooms, but also the less-explored concept of the enduring guilt and shame that subsequent generations grapple with. I learned how silent the past can be, how stories can be concealed, and how this silence can reverberate through generations.

      Krug’s use of the concept of “Heimat” is profound. She articulates a longing for a home that is also a source of shame and discomfort. This duality emphasizes that our identity is often a complex tapestry of love, guilt, and historical burden. As a Holocaust studies teacher, I resonate with this concept of “Heimat”. My role is not just to teach about an historical event, but also to help students connect with it in a deeply personal way, perhaps transforming their notion of home and belonging.

      “Belonging” provides an invaluable perspective on how historical events permeate individual lives and collective identities. It underscores the importance of confronting our past, no matter how uncomfortable, to shape a more conscious and empathetic future. It is a reminder that as educators, we have a responsibility to guide our students in their understanding of history, not just as a collection of facts, but as an intertwined narrative of humanity.

    • #31767

      Eduardo, I really appreciate your commentary on identity being a “complex tapestry.” I too believe this book would really speak to all students and is a powerful message about belonging. I think it would start a rich and emotional discussion with my Native American students that move back and forth between the reservation and Great Falls.

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