Momme Brodersen: Group Portrait with Walter Benjamin. Siedler Verlag (Hardcover, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999)

Group Portrait with Walter Benjamin

A search for traces

Original Title: Klassenbild mit Walter Benjamin

Hardcover with jacket, 240 pages, 13.5 x 21.5 cm, 5.3 x 8.5 in.
ISBN: 978-3-88680-943-1
€ 19.99 [D] | € 20.60 [A] | CHF 28.90 * (* rec. retail price) recommended retail price

Publishing House: Siedler

Date of publication: September 3, 2012
This title is available.


Momme  Brodersen - Group Portrait with Walter Benjamin


A snapshot in time telling the drama of the 20th century

In 1912, 22 young men attending the Kaiser-Friedrich-Schule in Berlin-Charlottenburg put their names down for their final exams. Walter Benjamin was one of them. The eminent German-Jewish writer was, however, not the only one later to make a name for himself.

Five of his class mates were killed in World War I; they had volunteered for armed service. Others were deported by the Nazis and murdered in concentration camps. Some of them drifted to the right-wing fringes of society; one of them became one of the main suppliers of Zyklon B in the Third Reich. Walter Benjamin himself took his own life in the border village of Portbou between Spain and France in 1940 while fleeing his persecutors.

This book shows a micro-view of a piece of German history. The fates of the 22 students about to leave school in 1912 exemplify and show up the rifts and existential breaks in the dealings of Germans and Jews with each other, from the Wilhelmina period until right into the 1950s. The class photograph shows one short moment when working and living together still seemed to be possible.

“Momme Brodersen has carefully researched the history of the secondary school graduating class of 1912 of Kaiser Friederich School in Berlin. His attempt to reconstruct the individual life stories is a contribution to the research into the upper-class mentality of the 20th century.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung


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