Heimat is one of those rare books that make you ask everyone you know if they have read it yet. It is a graphic memoir that investigates Krug’s German family history during WWII and the issues surrounding grief, trust, and morality.
What separates Krug’s memoir is its construction. It is well written, engaging, and informative text accompanied by brilliant works of drawing, photography and collage. It is this artistic element that draws you in and engage in such an important part of history in a very new way. An expressively creative and personal way.
Krug’s aim is to look back into her family’s history during WWII with an objective lens. To review her family’s stories and record them in a journalistic manner, for herself and her future family. What she discovers is that what she had been told growing up is quite different to the truth. That the complexities of trying to protect and provide for one’s family can blur the lines of morality when faced with dire circumstances. The specific and personal details Krug was able to find are incredible, and the inclusion of the photographs and her own artistic renditions of the sources are truly moving.
The honesty of this book really makes it special. You can feel it on every page that there was a real care and intent behind it. It’s a purposeful book, and something unique. Looking into one’s family past can be a very emotional journey. Especially if you cannot be proud or impressed. When you have to face the hard decisions made in the past and discuss them with your present family to try to begin some form of acceptance, and growth. This is the beautiful journey that Krug shares with the reader. You can feel the emotion in her drawings flow with the story and changing mood express an emotion that cannot be told in words.
Heimat is a wonderful book that reaches into your soul and draws out a better person.
'A powerful and deeply affecting graphic memoir that explores identity, guilt and the meaning of home for a postwar German'
Nora Krug grew up as a second-generation German after the end of the Second World War, struggling with a profound ambivalence towards her country's recent past. Travelling as a teenager, her accent alone evoked raw emotions in the people she met, an anger she understood, and shared.
Seventeen years after leaving Germany for the US, Nora Krug decided she couldn't know who she was without confronting where she'd come from. In Heimat, she documents her journey investigating the lives of her family members under the Nazi regime, visually charting her way back to a country still tainted by war. Beautifully illustrated and lyrically told, Heimat is a powerful meditation on the search for cultural identity, and the meaning of history and home.