life stories

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Arnold Munter. Ein biografisches Geschichtsbuch

Biographies that make any history book seem pale in comparison exist. Arnold Munter’s life story is one of those. Born in 1912 during the last Imperial Era in Berlin, he virtually witnesses all the developments up close that embody the “German” century. Hereby he is not simply a spectator. Each political system that he is introduced to he either shapes or fights. He experiences each epoch very deliberately. His exceptional memory and vivid story-telling make him a fascinating witness with an exemplary life for twentieth century Germany.

Ruth Damwerth: Arnold Munter. A biographical history book.
978-3-937772-35-6; paperback 268 pages, 18,90 Euro

“The first controlled detonation took place on September 6th and was implemented in the front section. I was keen to be quite close and had arranged with the demolition master, that I would hide behind the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Monument that was still there, observing the blast from the cover of the massive bronze klutz. The People’s Police had largely blocked off the boulevard Unter den Linden, because the operation required massive amounts of dynamite, as the foundations of the City Palace were up to five meters thick. The first detonation shook the ground severely. Once the dust and expelled masses of stone had settled I moved closer to the detonation site. All of a sudden a car arrived and two Soviet officers alarmed by the explosion jumped out, protesting as they approached me: “Why you blow up castle? We also not blow up Kreml after Revolution.”

With her book Damwerth has set Munter a monument. Rightly so – despite not always sharing his opinions and relating to his every step. It is the individual stories like that of Arnold Munter that make history tangible and emotionally accessible.

Der Nordberliner, 11.17.1994, on “Arnold Munter. Jahrhundertzeuge“

Much to her credit the author Ruth Damwerth gently and cautiously handles Munter’s story. At times he freely fills pages with his recount. In between personal anecdotes we find historical facts and background information interwoven. Thus the work moves beyond the subjective view of a protagonist and becomes a reflection on the 20th century.

Pankower Anzeiger, 11.25.1994, on “Arnold Munter. Jahrhunderzeuge“

26-year-old Ruth Damwerth from Münster has succeeded in what only an un-biased and a by developments in both German states unencumbered author could have achieved. With alert interest and empathetic intuition, she has chronicled the life journey of Arnold Munter, given him space to express his story and has through intelligent observation created a historical work that is also fascinating to read.

Neues Deutschland, 02.22.1995, on “Arnold Munter. Jahrhundertzeuge“

Exciting and exemplary highs and lows of a ruptured Germany during the 20th century – Damwerth has understood how to weave an individual’s chronology into a greater historic picture.

Westfälische Nachrichten, 03.07.1995, on “Arnold Munter. Jahrhundertzeuge“