Trummerliteratur was a literary movement in Germany that grew out of the rubble of World War II. In fact, trummerliteratur means "literature of the rubble".

The new literary movement emphasized fractured sentences and minimalist style. Trummerliteratur signified Germany's entrance into the "modern" literary environment.

Prior to the war German literature was made up of nationalistic tales and Bavarian mythology. But German shame after the war forced a change in culture.

I guess it was decided that art like Wagner's wouldn't send the right message to the rest of the world.

"Speak Not, Memory" by Ruth Franklin
The New Republic. August 20, 2001, p. 30-39

German Literary Movement between 1945 and 1950

Trümmerliteratur in German means "rubble literature". The reason it's called that is that at the time, Germany was a pile of rubble. Its authors were, though young, veterans returning from the war or captivity. They started a new "traditionless" literature - due to the Nazis' censorship (see "Entartete Kunst" - "degenerate art") they had neither had access to works of German authors of the Weimar Republic nor to international masterpieces. Also, like the rest of Germany, they wanted the "Stunde Null" (hour zero), a completetly new start (which of course was not quite possible - see Denazification).

The Trümmerliteratur dealt with the harsh realities in post-war Germany: ruins, death, guilt, captivity, homecoming (if only to pick up the pieces that had once been one's life) and general hardship. It did so with a markedly simple and clear language to break away from the earlier corrupted ideology-speak. No more deceptions, no more delusions. The results are impressing and depressing at the same time.

Important authors and some of their works:
  • Wolfgang Borchert - "Laterne, Nacht und Sterne", "Das Brot", "An diesem Dienstag", "Die Hundeblume", "Nachts schlafen die Ratten doch" and most famously "Draußen vor der Tür"
  • Heinrich Böll - "Der Zug war pünktlich", "Wanderer, kommst du nach Spa", "Wo warst du, Adam"
  • Wolfdietrich Schnurre - "Die Rohrdommel ruft jeden Tag"
  • Günter Eich - "Inventur"
Many authors later assembled in the "Gruppe 47", which became the literary circle in the 50s and early 60s.

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