Belonging – A German Reckons with History and Home
Belonging – A German Reckons with History and Home is a 280-page graphic memoir by artist Nora Krug, telling the story of her attempt to confront the hidden truths of her family’s wartime past in Nazi Germany and to comprehend the forces that have shaped her life, her generation, and history.
Nora Krug was born decades after the fall of the Nazi regime, but the Second World War cast a long shadow throughout her childhood and youth in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. For Nora, the simple fact of her German citizenship bound her to the Holocaust and its unspeakable atrocities and left her without a sense of cultural belonging.
In her late thirties, after twelve years in the US, Krug realizes that living abroad has only intensified her need to ask the questions she didn’t dare to as a child and young adult. Returning to Germany, she visits archives, conducts research, and interviews family members, uncovering in the process the stories of her maternal grandfather, a driving teacher in Karlsruhe during the war, and her father’s brother Franz-Karl, who died as a teenage SS soldier in Italy. Her extraordinary quest, spanning continents and generations, pieces together her family’s troubling story and reflects on what it means to be a German of her generation.
Nora Krug is an author and artist whose drawings and visual narratives have appeared in periodicals including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian and Le Monde Diplomatique, and in anthologies published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon and Schuster and Chronicle Books. Krug has won fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Maurice Sendak Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Fulbright Program. Her visual narratives won three gold medals from the Society of Illustrators, a silver cube from the Art Directors Club, and were chosen for Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Comics and Best American Non-Required Reading. Her animations were shown at the Sundance Film Festival, and her books are included in the Library of Congress, the Sundance Collection at UCLA, and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University. Krug is an associate professor at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.