In the fall of 1975 Christa Wolf read before the Akademie der Kunste der DDR excerpts from her yet unpublished but long-awaited massive autobiographical novel Kindheitsmuster. At the conclusion of the reading she spoke with her colleagues about the genesis of the novel. In this context she referred to an inci- dent which had occurred during the final days of the war. The memory of this incident, described in greater detail in Kindheitsmuster itself, had been lying dormant within her for many years. Joining the stream of refugees heading west before the advancing Russians, she and her family had crossed paths with a half-starved communist just released from a concentration camp. This man, observing with sadness and astonishment the utter lack of comprehension with which the self-righteous, middle-class refugees reacted to his plight, could only exclaim, "Wo habt ihr eigentlich aIle gelebt!" The young Christa Wolf had not at first understood the significance of this remark, but the remark stuck and now, thirty years after the defeat of fascism, she felt compelled to confront the question. She could no longer suppress the fear and guilt of her formative years. She owed to herself and to society an account of those years between her childhood in the early thirties and the point of her initiation into the new social order of the GDR in 1947: "… ich hatte seit Jahren das deutliche Gefuhl,dass ich diesen Beitrag, den ich seIber leisten muss, urn danach anderes schreiben zu konnen, noch nicht geleistet habe. Es gibt da auch gewisse Gesetze der Berufsmoral. Wenn man eine bestimmte Sache noch nicht gesagt hat, darfman nicht zu anderem ubergehen."



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