Dealing with war is seldom easy. And yet it is necessary. Hamburg author Kirsten Boie (“Sommerby”, “Möwenweg”) now wants to add a facet to her new children’s book “Don’t cry, you’re still alive”.

“When we talk about war, we are mainly talking about the guilt of Germany, which started the war and committed terrible atrocities, and the Holocaust. And it is also good and correct and we must continue to do so, ”said Boie of the German press agency in Hamburg.

“But nothing emerges that the German population who were not persecuted also suffered terribly.” It was time to “describe how terrible the outcome of National Socialism was for everyone”.

Boie wants to make the effects clear

This is important at the moment, “in connection with the young people who are currently migrating to the right”. That’s why she wrote a book for young people that examines the effects of the Nazi regime and the terrible experiences of all Germans in everyday life.

Your story, published by Oetinger-Verlag (release date January 8), revolves around three young teenagers shortly after the end of World War II. They play in the ruins of Hamburg, are hungry, hide in the ruins, trade on the black market, have to share their living space with strangers, and have crippled fathers. Every family and every child has struggled to understand the past and the present. They are all united in loss.

Point of view of three young people

Boie tells the story that takes place in Hamburg from the point of view of one of the three young people. It was important for Boie to approach different aspects of life. The daughter of a family of bakers who are to welcome a family from East Prussia. The son of a deeply frustrated soldier, still believing in diet and without legs, sits in the kitchen and bullying the family. And the son of a non-Jewish German and a Jew who, out of fear of the Germans, still hides in the rubble and poses as a non-Jewish child to make friends.

Boie describes the thoughts of young people in a complex way and allows for twists and turns. “It’s always important to me that things aren’t that clear. We are not all so clear. People are much more complex. “

Remember childhood stories

For the book, Boie drew a lot on his memories. She herself was not born at the end of the war. “But the stories and tales of that time shaped my whole childhood. I also played in the rubble myself, and professors with prostheses were almost the rule. “At the same time, she also researched the Neuengamme concentration camp memorial in Hamburg and the literature on the plight of the Jews. in the Hanseatic city. ”It was horrible. It all becomes very, much more concrete and really shocking. “

The 177-page book resonates. That works. It frees thoughts and creates space for discussion – internally and with others. Boie hopes his book will reach children before they idealize Nazism in right-wing groups. “Typically, young people between the ages of 12 and 15 slip away, and this is exactly the target group the book is aimed at.” At this age, girls and boys should certainly have a full picture of the consequences of the war of National Socialism.

“It’s also a bit the fault of my generation because we never told the whole story. We have always spoken of guilt, never of suffering. But it also shortens the picture a lot and it’s not always good for young people. “Boie thinks it would be good if his book was part of the class.” As a former German teacher, that’s what that I wish. But I’m afraid it’s too long for that. ” (dpa)