A Third-Generation Perspective on German-Polish Flight and Expulsion: Discursive and Spatial Practices in Sabrina Janesch's novel Katzenberge (2010)

in German Politics and Society
Author: Claudia Winkler
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This article analyzes Sabrina Janesch's 2010 novel Katzenberge through the lenses of Heimat and spatial theory. Katzenberge, which is told from the perspective of the third generation (i.e., grandchild) of expellees, narrates the story of Polish flight out of the Polish-Ukrainian border region of Galicia into the German-Polish border region of Silesia. I argue that Katzenberge chronicles a generational shift in relationships to the verlorene (lost) Heimat from the expellee generation's static view (Heimat as the physical territory itself) to the third generation's more fluid conceptions (Heimat as memories, stories). The purpose of this article is to illustrate changing ways of engaging with the verlorene Heimat over time and particularly to show the role that literature plays in facilitating and explaining these changes while also opening up new avenues of understanding both across generations and across German-Polish national borders.