Wallstein Verlag

Dorothee Wierling

A Family in the Wartime

Life, Death and Writing, 1914-1918

415 pages, 12,5 x 21,0
ISBN: 978-3-8353-1301-9 (2013)


German Version

During the years of the First World War, the Social Democratic feminist Lily Braun, her husband Heinrich, their son Otto and a close friend of the family, Julie Vogelstein, wrote around 2000 letters to one another. Based on this correspondence, which has remained almost fully intact, Dorothee Wierling gives us a unique insight into the everyday lives and world of ideas of the letter-writers during these years. At home in a milieu where aristocratic, educated middle-class, Social Democratic, feminist and reformist value horizons are mixed with nationalistic war euphoria, the war is experienced as an event which takes matters that were previously of a purely private and everyday nature into a sphere of world-historical significance. In an impressive way, the authoress allows us to participate in everyday wartime life and shows us the family`s reactions to events in the homeland (especially in Berlin) and at the front.

At the same time she reveals how feelings, relationships, personal ideals and the search for meaning in a militarized society are expressed in the letters.
Dorothee Wierling tells a moving story, which helps us to understand the experience of war in a new way.

The First World War in personal letters exchanged by the members of a family from Berlin.

The Authoress
Dorothee Wierling, born in 1950, is deputy director of the Research Centre for Contemporary History in Hamburg (FZH) and a professor at the University of Hamburg.
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