Saturday, April 01, 2006

File 1.55 Natur, dt.

After 1945, 12 million Germans were driven out of lands they had often inhabited for centuries. ‘Slavdom’, in the shape of the revived Polish state, advanced to the Oder. Most of the expellees from what was now Polish territory were dumped, almost penniless, in what was to become West Germany, where (with government encouragement) they often soothed their loss with sour fantasies of return. As Blackbourn shows, they also preserved in their well-subsidised expellee culture a version of the ‘sustaining myth’, the belief that the German relationship to the earth and nature existed on a plane of synthesis inaccessible to other races. ‘The refugee writers who tended the flame still wanted it both ways,’ Blackbourn comments. ‘Germans had a special feeling for nature, but they also had a special talent for shaping the land.’
Neal Ascherson, "Imagined Soil", in TLS April 6 2006.


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