Between Collective and Individual Memory
7 9 2019
Between Collective and Individual Memory

Nora Krug on how she deals with her German identity

Belonging - that is the title of Nora Krug's latest book. It is a special book. Not only because of its presentation as a graphic novel, but especially since it tells the personal family story of the author. She questions herself relentlessly with her past and German identity. Even though she has been living abroad for over twenty years and has recently become an American citizen, the question of identity always remains. “Living abroad showed me that I am a representative of German culture. I see this as a responsibility, to reflect and confront myself more diversely with my individual history as German.” The search for identity is a constant companion and common thread running through her book.

When Nora Krug and Francesco M. Cataluccio meet in the Aula Magna of the University of Mantua there is no empty seat. As a chapter of Belonging is read, words and pictures circle through the room and give the audience a first insight into the history of Nora Krug's family. Her uncle who was a soldier under Hitler’s regime died during the war. A fact that never has been spoken of. Because of this ongoing silence in her family, Krug begins to research and finds documents that show an uncomfortable truth of her family’s involvement in the Nazi regime. She deals with the German sense of guilt, which is passed on from generation to generation and still shapes German society in its actions today. In her book, she does not spare anyone, but also dares to address a taboo subject: the German loss in terms of its civilian victims and bombed cities. Nevertheless, she deals with it in way that does not victimise anybody.

In the end, Krug closes this remarkable evening with an appeal. “Everyone bears the responsibility to deal with history again and again, because history will always be part of the present. It seems difficult to combine patriotism with critical remembrance. But genuine patriotism means looking back, learning and reflecting to form an identity. It is nothing to be afraid of.”