Last updated

Trümmerliteratur ("rubble literature"), also called Kahlschlagliteratur ("clear-cutting literature"), is a literary movement that began shortly after World War II in Germany and lasted until about 1950.

It is primarily concerned with the fate of former soldiers and POWs who could return to Germany, who must stand both before the rubble of their homeland and their possessions as well as before the rubble of their ideals and deal with it. American short stories served as a model for the authors of this epoch. The stylistic means employed were simple, direct language, which laconically described but did not evaluate the destroyed world, and a restriction, usual for short stories, of the space, narrated time, and characters.

On account of its simplification, writing of this epoch is also referred to as Kahlschlagliteratur ("clear-cutting literature"), and the aim of its authors was to use shortened sentences and straightforward language as a response to the misuse of German by the Nazis. They tried to show reality just as it was without any unnecessary information out of the view of the common people. A noteworthy example is Wolfgang Weyrauch who stressed magical realism. The literature was intended to help deal with the past and the recreation of the future, analyzing questions of truth, responsibility, and causes of the war and Holocaust, as well as serving as a critique of the political and social restoration of Germany.

Well-known representatives

See also

Related Research Articles

German literature Overview of German-language literature

German literature comprises those literary texts written in the German language. This includes literature written in Germany, Austria, the German parts of Switzerland and Belgium, Liechtenstein, South Tyrol in Italy and to a lesser extent works of the German diaspora. German literature of the modern period is mostly in Standard German, but there are some currents of literature influenced to a greater or lesser degree by dialects.

Friedrich Dürrenmatt Swiss author and dramatist (1921-1990)

Friedrich Dürrenmatt was a Swiss author and dramatist. He was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II. The politically active author's work included avant-garde dramas, philosophical crime novels, and macabre satire. Dürrenmatt was a member of the Gruppe Olten, a group of left-wing Swiss writers who convened regularly at a restaurant in the city of Olten.

Heinrich Böll German writer

Heinrich Theodor Böll was one of Germany's foremost post-World War II writers. He was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize in 1967 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.

Gruppe 47 was a group of participants in German writers' meetings, invited by Hans Werner Richter between 1947–1967. The meetings served the dual goals of literary criticism as well as the promotion of young, unknown authors. In a democratic vote titled "Preis der Gruppe 47", it proved to be excellent for many who were beginning their writing careers. Group 47 had no organizational form, no fixed membership list, and no literary program, but was strongly influenced by Richter's invitations.

Wolfgang Borchert German playwright and writer

Wolfgang Borchert was a German author and playwright whose work was strongly influenced by his experience of dictatorship and his service in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. His work is among the best-known examples of the Trümmerliteratur movement in post-World War II Germany. His most famous work is the drama "Draußen vor der Tür ", which he wrote soon after the end of World War II. His works are known not to make compromises on the issues of humanity and humanism. He is one of the most popular authors of the German postwar period; his work continues to be studied regularly in German schools.

Tommaso Landolfi

Tommaso Landolfi was an Italian author, translator and literary critic. His numerous grotesque tales and novels, sometimes on the border of speculative fiction, science fiction and realism, place him in a unique and unorthodox position among Italian writers. He won a number of awards, including the prestigious Strega Prize.

Siegfried Lenz German writer

Siegfried Lenz was a German writer of novels, short stories and essays, as well as dramas for radio and the theatre. In 2000 he received the Goethe Prize on the 250th Anniversary of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's birth. He won the 2010 International Nonino Prize in Italy.

Wolfgang Jeschke

Wolfgang Jeschke was a German science fiction author and editor at Heyne Verlag. In 1987, he won the Harrison Award for international achievements in science fiction.

Emine Sevgi Özdamar is a writer, director, and actress of Turkish origin who resides in Germany and has resided there for many years. Özdamar's art is unique in that it is influenced by her life experiences, which straddle the countries of Germany and Turkey throughout times of turmoil in both. One of her most notable accomplishments is winning the 1991 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize.

Austrian literature is the literature written in Austria, which is mostly, but not exclusively, written in the German language. Some scholars speak about Austrian literature in a strict sense from the year 1806 on when Francis II disbanded the Holy Roman Empire and established the Austrian Empire. A more liberal definition incorporates all the literary works written on the territory of today's and historical Austria, especially when it comes to authors who wrote in German. Thus, the seven-volume history of Austrian literature edited by Herbert Zeman and Fritz Peter Knapp is titled Geschichte der Literatur in Österreich. Austrian literature must be considered in close connection with German literature in general, and the borderline between proper German literature and that of Austria is porous, due to rich and complex cultural exchanges.

Daniel Kehlmann

Daniel Kehlmann is a German-language novelist and playwright of both Austrian and German nationality.

Wolfgang Arthur Reinhold Koeppen was a German novelist and one of the best known German authors of the postwar period.

<i>Ulenspiegel</i> (magazine)

Ulenspiegel was a bi-weekly German satirical magazine published in Berlin after World War II. The magazine was an important cultural outlet in the new era of democracy and freedom following the fall of the Third Reich. Its first issue was published on 24 December 1945. The publishers were Herbert Sandberg and Günther Weisenborn; editors included Wolfgang Weyrauch, with Karl Schnog becoming editor-in-chief in 1947. Its success was stymied by politics, as the editors first clashed with the American authorities in occupied Germany in 1948, accused of being too "left-wing", and then after the magazine moved to the Soviet sector of Berlin, ran afoul of the Communists in 1950. The remaining publisher, Sandberg, lost his license to publish in 1950.

Klaus Ebner Austrian writer (born 1964)

Klaus Ebner is an Austrian writer, essayist, poet, and translator. Born and raised in Vienna, he began writing at an early age. He started submitting stories to magazines in the 1980s, and also published articles and books on software topics after 1989. Ebner's poetry is written in German and Catalan; he also translates French and Catalan literature into German. He is a member of several Austrian writers associations, including the Grazer Autorenversammlung.

"The Bread" is a short story by Wolfgang Borchert. The story takes places in 1945 post-war Germany where food was in short supply.

Wolfgang Weyrauch was a German writer, journalist, and actor. He wrote under the pseudonym name Joseph Scherer.


Vergeltung is the second novel of the writer Gert Ledig (1921-1999). It is an apocalyptic autobiographical anti-war novel. It mines the author's own experiences and is considered an important example of the literary realism genre of postwar novel.

Wolfgang Karl Weyrauch (1907–1970) was a German-Peruvian malacologist and entomologist.

Johannes Weyrauch was a German composer and cantor.

Das Begräbnis is a short story by German author Wolfdietrich Schnurre. It was written in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War and was first published in 1948 in the February issue of the magazine Ja. Zeitung der jungen Generation. In 1960, Schnurre included a revised version in the prose collection Man sollte dagegen sein. Das Begräbnis is also significant in literary history as the first text to be read at a meeting of the writers' association Gruppe 47.