Vom Ungang mit der Schuld : Zu Walter Kempowskis Romanen Tadellöser und Wolff (1971) und Uns geht’s ja noch gold (1972).
The Deutsche Chronik, a nine volume family saga by the German author Walter Kempowski (1929 – 2007) modelled on Kempowski’s own family parallels the travails of a people seeking to wrench themselves loose from a past that is however always present. In this analysis, two of the novels of these chronicles of the Rostock middle class will be studied according to their portrayal of the question of German guilt. Thus far in secondary literature, the question of Kempowski’s portrayal of guilt in his novels has only been sparsely dealt with. The novel Tadellöser and Wolff (1971) in which the setting is the port city of Rostock in the Second World war and Uns geht’s ja noch gold (1972) in which the post-war years under soviet occupation are detailed lend themselves to an analysis of the question of guilt, as they cover a time period in German history (1939 – 1948) which is decisive in its examination. In this analysis, the question of guilt in the two novels by Kempowski will be examined according to a theoretical framework presented by two important studies on the question of guilt in Germany, firstly the study Die Schuldfrage. Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Frage (1946) by Karl Jaspers and secondly Der lange Schatten der Vergangenheit (2006) by Aleida Assmann.