La casa herida By Horst Krüger

First published in 1966, with a 1976 afterword, and now available for an English-speaking readership for the first time, this is a powerful and moving memoir of family life under the Nazis, whilst the latter part of the book describes the author’s attendance at the Auschwitz trials. Horst Kruger was only 14 when the Nazis came to power. The regime was all he knew, and he was later conscripted to fight for it. He came from an apolitical lower-middle class background, from amongst those “harmless Germans who were never Nazis and without whom the Nazis would never have been able to do their work”. He describes with insight and empathy the “phenomenon of the apolitical lower-middle-class which in its social insecurity, its instability and its hunger for irrational solutions provided the fertile seedbed for National Socialism’s seizure of power”. He explores, without facile judgement, issues of guilt, culpability and duty, bringing us all face to face with that eternal question “what would I have done?” Honest, candid and atmospheric, it’s a reflexive and thought-provoking memoir, and a compelling and absorbing read. Horst Krüger A first hand account of a middle class son in the thirties, turned soldier in the fourthies, turned journalist in the fifties in Germany. Having lived just outside Berlin, in Eichkamp, he gives an interesting insight on the german middle class and it's mentality. He talks of ambition and not questioning orders. He telss of his own life and questions his own decisions in the war. He does this with a striking honesty. He admits to not being a hero and even hates himself for having followed orders. His book does a very good job of displaying his mixed emotions and his dealing with his past in the present. How do you live on? As he witnesses the 1964 Auschwitz trial you learn the answer, easily. He talks of not being able to recognise the defendants, because there are only 'normal' people sitting in the room. The defendants turn out to be succesful businessmen, yes even nurses, that are very much liked and respected in their community. This is a great book and beautifully written, I could not put it down; it deserves the five star mark. Horst Krüger This is a curious and consuming story that if your interested in History and the common folk the side not often heard from. Everyone is different so is this worth hearing I'd say yes absolutely 💯% and why I gave it 5 stars 🌟

One man tells his story of survival If that's the right word, in some generations I'd say existenced but this is part of the life story of Horst Ķrűger. He is a German Gentleman from the 1900 born as WW1 ended and schooled in the middle of the wars so until 1945 only he only really knew his country ruled by him that is Hitler the one no one wants to talk about specially in his homelands.

Horst Krűger was in a middle class family brought up in the outskirts of Berlin were everyone appears civil apolitical a Catholic Mum and a non practising Protestant Dad, at least I assume he was non practicing their family's and Church's weren't happy about it. This is a generation like no other mind they didn't live through the Pandemic well most that is. Your right that is worse than the Pandemic just saying there are different trials for each generation. So yes every generation is different I grew up at school having to study this time admittedly from the side of the Allies mainly. There were so many films about how Americans swept in and saved the day plus other more factual ones often not from Hollywood strangely enough. I just assumed Germany bad the people as well England the brave Victor's impeccable and good. We all grow up to see things are not that simple or even close to the truth. UK obviously still the best 👌but well love the Germanys mainly excepton on the pitch penalties or not.

Back to the book, I have been having my eye open recently to the other side of things like how Germany turned things around for themselves with help but the people had to deal with their own legacy and how they could deal with their issues if that's the way to put it. Here is a true tale of one man and how things went for him and it is a tale very much worth hearing and I hope you do read this I think it's very with your while. Horst Krüger Horst Krüger hace un relato en primera persona de su vida y la de su familia, pero que puede ser la de cualquier familia normal alemana, durante el mandato de Hitler. La aceptación de lo que estaba pasando, bien por miedo o indiferencia, permitió a Hitler llevar a cabo su proyecto.

Mientras lo estaba leyendo, inevitablemente pensaba en aquello que decía Gramsci en su Odio a los indiferentes, que la vida significa tomar partido. La indiferencia puede ser muy peligrosa, da alas al fascismo sin ser consciente de ello. Hoy, donde un nuevo fascismo más amable está resurgiendo, las palabras del teórico y militante comunista italiano siguen teniendo plena vigencia. Horst Krüger A memoir of growing up during the Third Reich.

Journalist Krüger attends the Frankfurt trials in the mid-sixties of 22 former Auschwitz guards for the murder of over a million prisoners. The experience dredges up memories of his life in the lead up to and during the war.

Born into a lower middle class family, Krüger grew up in a quiet Berlin suburb. His story illustrates how the Nazis insinuated their way into the ordinary person's life. Yet, for all the personal tragedy, war and atrocity he witnesses, he rarely conveys his emotional response in any depth, leaving the reader feeling at a remove.

My thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK, Vintage, for the ARC. Horst Krüger


Read & Download La casa herida

Una mirada a la historia personal y una confrontación directa con el pasado nacionalsocialista de la sociedad alemana, para tratar de encontrar respuesta a una pregunta que impide seguir adelante: cómo fue posible algo que hoy no se alcanza a imaginar.

En 1965, el periodista Horst Krüger asistió a los Juicios de Auschwitz en Fráncfort, donde se juzgó a veintidós personas por los crímenes perpetrados por iniciativa personal en el campo de concentración y exterminio de Auschwitz-Birkenau durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Hombres grises que habían sido capaces de cometer los actos de la mayor crueldad para después, «desnazificados», retomar donde la dejaron su vida de buenos ciudadanos y mantener incluso amplias cuotas de poder profesional, político e intelectual.

Emprende ahí una búsqueda de la niñez que, veinte años después de 1945, lo lleva a Eichkamp y hasta «la casa herida», las ruinas del hogar familiar, metáfora de la estrechez de miras opresiva y decadente de la pequeña burguesía alemana que miró entre la sorpresa, la indignación y la fascinación el ascenso del nacionalsocialismo. Reconstruye el mundo de los perpetradores o de los que dejaron pasar, una sociedad que se entregó a la comodidad del delirio nacionalsocialista.

Nos habla de amigos comprometidos con la resistencia de los que se apartó por cobardía, reconoce que nunca fue héroe y se pregunta qué habría hecho él, si, cuando estuvo en el ejército, le hubieran ordenado participar él también en el trabajo del genocidio. La casa herida

Horst Krüger schreef dit boek in 1964. Het beschrijft zijn jonge leven en dat van zijn familie in de periode 1933-1945. Twintig jaar later woont hij als journalist het Auschwitz proces bij en hij ziet niet wie de beklaagden zijn, wie de slachtoffers en wie de rechters. Dit doet hem bij zichzelf afvragen hoe hij ooit het onderscheid zou kunnen herkennen tussen goed en kwaad omdat deze mensen er zo gewoon uitzien en hoe hij zou hebben gereageerd als de omstandigheden anders waren geweest.

Horst Krüger wrote this book in 1964. It describes his young life and that of his family in the period 1933-1945. Twenty years later, he attends the Auschwitz trial as a journalist and does not see who the defendants are, who the victims and who the judges are. This makes him wonder how he could ever recognize the difference between right and wrong because these people look so ordinary and how he would have reacted if the circumstances had been different.

Horst Krüger Krüger was a boy when the Nazis came to power. As his memoir closes, he is a West German journalist attending the 1964 Auschwitz trials.

Krüger does an excellent, low-key job of describing his experiences and his family’s, with no effort at self-justification or excuse. His father had served in World War I and was injured. His mother was a devout Catholic. They lived a quiet, apolitical life in the suburbs and found the Nazis distasteful. But when Hitler became Chancellor, the economy improved and Germans believed in themselves. And they were good, obedient Germans.

But for Krüger, his sister’s mysterious suicide was somehow associated with the state of the country. He took a minor role in a friend’s efforts at Nazi resistance and was lucky to get a relatively short term in prison. Like nearly everyone else, he joined the German military. He was lucky again to be sent west, not east.

Krüger knew that the war was lost as soon as Hitler made the insane decision to attack the USSR and fight a two-front war. Still, the war went on for years, with Krüger feeling the disgust and futility of being a German until he decides simply to give up, to surrender to American troops.

Years after the war, Krüger meets up with his old school friend on a visit to East Germany. He is saddened to see that his friend is a Communist apparatchik; not a passionate believer in Marxism, but a banal office worker carrying out the party’s wishes as so many Germans did for the Nazis.

When Krüger goes to the Auschwitz trial, he is struck by how many of the defendants were accused of horrible things but had been working in ordinary jobs for years, one even working for Willy Brandt’s administration. And some weren’t even Nazis; some were prisoners themselves who threw themselves into the sadism and cruelty of the camp. Considering how ordinary Germans wanted to sweep the war under the rug, and how many responsible for horrible war crimes were fully integrated back into ordinary life, Krüger muses that it’s no wonder so few people persecuted by the Nazis want to return to Germany. Imagine running into your tormentor at the grocery, the post office, the infirmary.

Krüger also admits that no matter how appalling he finds the defendants, he doesn’t know what he would have done if he’d been unlucky enough to be posted to serve in the east. Would he have followed orders, would he have gotten inured to the horror?

While we can never hope to truly understand the madness that overtook Germany in the 1930s memoirs like Krüger’s are invaluable in studying this period. I recommend adding this to your WW2 reading list. Horst Krüger The Broken House has been described as an account, a memoir, an autobiographical novel. It is closer to a novel, using a narrative that is out of sequence, spiralling backward and forward, building towards the source: 1966, two years after the Auschwitz trial attended by Kruger. The work is a study of guilt and a record of collapse. The broken house is the self, the family, and the State. Kruger was a writer-philosopher, who studied under Heidegger, and this adds lucidity to the writing and a sense of paradox -- his surrender to the Americans is described as the freedom of constraint. In the The Broken House, Horst probes individual minds, how people came to serve Nazism even though they despised Nazi philosophy or were apolitical. The writing is historically incisive, but never becomes a history book, another account of the Third Reich and its breakdown: its emotional power takes the writing continuously towards poetry, towards feeling, and a language that echoes Keats. Hyperion occurs in the novel as a sort of existential myth:

But cannot I create?
Cannot I form? Cannot I fashion forth
Another world, another universe,
To overbear and crumble this to nought?

The destruction of the Third Reich is constantly sought by Kruger. He longs to crumble it and fashion another world -- which is the novel. The Broken House is a tremendous piece of sustained writing. Horst Krüger Horst Krüger war 14 Jahre, als Hitler die Macht in Deutschland übernahm. Er wuchs in einer Berliner Arbeitersiedlung auf und erlebte eine Jugendzeit, wie viele andere in den 30er Jahren. Und obwohl es nicht viel Außergewöhnliches gab und man solche Erzählungen und Biografien der Alten schon zigmal gehört und gelesen hat, ist es doch immer wieder interessant, damit konfrontiert zu werden. Horst Krüger ist nach dem Krieg Journalist geworden, doch sein Schreibstil in seiner Biografie ist ganz und ganz nicht im Stil einer Reportage. Er ist überaus spöttisch, was das kleinbürgerliche Verhalten seiner Eltern angeht. Er ist anklagend, wenn er über den Selbstmord seiner Schwester berichtet. Er ist verzweifelt, wenn er über seine eigene Inhaftierung im Dritten Reich und später über die Auschwitz-Prozesse in Frankfurt berichtet. Oft ist sein Schreibstil abgehakt, hetzend, aber auch eindringlich. Er erinnerte mich an den Schreibstil Christa Wolfs, den ich eigentlich gar nicht mag. Hier funktionierte es aber hervorragend, da seine Gedankenströme immer eindeutig sind.

Ich habe das Buch verschlungen. Schon alleine das Lesetempo ist ein Indiz dafür, dass es mir gefallen hat. Ich war sehr angetan von der Art, wie seine Autobiografie eine Aufarbeitung von Hitlers Deutschland ist. Geschrieben hat er dieses Buch Ende der 60er Jahre und er endet mit der Aussage, dass dieses neue Deutschland wohl nie von Hitler loskommen wird. Auch 50 Jahre nach Erscheinen hat dieses Buch nichts an seiner Gültigkeit verloren. Empfehlenswert. Horst Krüger The author of this book grew up in a 1930’s Berlin suburb. His father was injured in WWI and held a respected job, his mother was a Catholic, who tended to retire with mysterious illnesses. His parents were tired of war, inflation, and conflict. They wanted a quiet life in which to raise their children, tend their garden, compete quietly with their neighbours… They were, as Kruger points out, apolitical, respectable, removed. They tended not to talk to each other, or confront events, but, like many at that time, they were quietly accepting. The rise of Hitler led them to be more confident about their country, suddenly proud of being German, hopeful for change.

Change was certainly coming, and – in this book - the author confronts his youth, under Hitler. Where his parents openly agreed that much information given in the press, on the radio and in the newspapers, was wrong, but warned him not to disagree outside the safety of their respectable house. However, it was impossible to ignore history when it pressed against the very door and the author tells of his young life. Of the suicide of his sister, his inadvertent escapade into treasonous activities, his despair at the end of the war, which led him to surrender to the Americans.

It also tells of his attendance, as a journalist, of the 1965 Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt. Of the embarrassment, and unease, that his informing people he would be going to the trial caused. He was aware that nobody wished to hear of those things, but he was keen to understand the myth and the horror, only to discover the banality of evil. ‘Death,’ he muses, ‘as an act of administration.’ Defendants who are indistinguishable from anyone else attending the Court – including, bizarrely, those getting married in another part of the building. Men who have returned to Germany to re-build their life – to act as nurses, shopkeepers, accountants. Take away the uniform of the SS and you are left with middle aged men who go for lunch, laugh and joke with each other, have families. Kruger muses, perceptibly that that may be why so many of their victims do not return to Germany – how can they tell who could have been responsible for that evil, when they look placid now, rather than brutal?

This is a beautifully written, carefully constructed, look at the author’s younger years, when he grew up in a country dominated by Hitler, before this life passes, ‘into the hands of historians,’ as he puts it so well. It is a brave, honest account of how the horrors of Auschwitz occurred in a country where everyone denied all knowledge of what was happening. Indeed, the author himself states he had not heard the word Auschwitz while he was a soldier, but he honestly assesses what he might have done had he been ordered there. His father, never a Party member, was obviously not a supporter of the Nazi’s, but his parents were also impressed by the early successes of the regime, and it was this apathy that allowed what followed. The Jewish neighbours who left, whose absence was not questioned. The denial of knowledge, the looking away. I cannot recommend this highly enough and think it is a must-read for anyone interested in those years. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
Horst Krüger