life stories

remembered... recounted... recorded!


The narration is a linguistic masterpiece. Through her use of the present tense Damwerth draws us straight into the circumstances, delicately guiding the reader through the mindset and atmosphere of those days since gone.

Münstersche Zeitung, 06-28-2005, on the novel “Schwarz Rot Braun”

His illness forbade him to write the book by himself. Historian and German studies specialist Ruth Damwerth patiently, competently and intuitively listened to his dictations, and composed and published the work after one year of close collaboration. “Without the help of my co-author this would not have been possible “, Große states gratefully.

Die Glocke, 04.01.2006, on “Nicht allein am Steuer des Lebens“

The surprising thing about this project: it is no stale history book that appeals only to the historically-minded residents of Münster, but rather an exciting, atmospheric and wonderfully dense volume for young adults.

Westfälische Nachrichten, 05.15.2005, on “Schwarz Rot Braun“

High praise for the author Ruth Damwerth from Münster: Her publication “Schwarz Rot Braun” is on Deutschlandradio’s and Focus’ list of the seven best youth novels. 26 jurors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland take part in this vote.

Münstersche Zeitung, 08.10.2005

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“

Letters, almost forgotten, lay amongst the documents as Inge Krausbeck pulls her Stasi files from her letterbox in 2002 – the past has caught up with her. 348 pages of copies of letters, transcripts, protocols and communications. Publisher Ruth Damwerth from Münster was intrigued. “Abschied von der DDR” is a vivid and suspense-ridden combination of excerpts of Inge Krausbeck’s Stasi files, letters from family members and her own recount.

Altmarkzeitung, 10.28.2009, on “Inge Krausbeck: Ausreisezeit. Abschied von der DDR“

Subtly and continuously Ruth Damwerth contextualizes Heinz Hönes memories. The reader is given a unique insight into the perfidious strategies of the Nazis…

Westfälische Nachrichten, 01.25.2014, on “Einwurf. Ein Sendenhorster erzählt Geschichte(n)“

As a child Ingrid Guntenhöner had black hair. In the school’s archive she was listed as ‘dark blonde’: an interpretation the Nazis preferred. The now 85-year-old attended school at Napola Kolmarberg, one of the most prestigious Nazi elite schools for girls. German studies specialist Ruth Damwerth has written down her story. It is the first biography of a female Napola student.

Westfälische Nachrichten, 04.16.2015, on “Zeit und Wandel“

In 1888 the unwed heiress to a family estate, with over 900 years of family history, handed the farm over to their long-standing caretaker Bernhard Eggert and with it many relating records and documents. A stroke of luck for his grandson Alfons, born in 1928, who is now collating a book about the history of the farm. A stroke of luck also for his co-author the historian and German studies specialist Ruth Damwerth, whose primary area of expertise lies in creating biographical work: “1000 years of estate history – the historical scale of this seemed too large at first. I spent weeks ‘digging’ through the state archives and was amazed to realize that the fate of this individual farm was representative for all the peasant farmers of this region, the rural existence – their history – wrapped up”, she says.

Münstersche Zeitung, 12.03.2014, on the book “Vom Roden des Urwalds bis zur Flächenstilllegung. Einblick in 1000 Jahre Leben und Geschichte westfälischer Bauern am Beispiel des Hofes Schmiemann/Eggert“

“Smiling was intrinsic”, says the 73-year-old today. However, in her biography “the fairytale image of a happy ice princess” will be “thoroughly dismantled.” Back then no one knew: The ever-smiling teen hated figure skating and she hated the woman who was tormenting her towards success – her mother. In “Mein eiskaltes Leben” Gundi Busch describes the fame she was forced into during the post-war era. Her son Peter Johansson persuaded her to chronicle her long way of suffering. Through the internet she came across Ruth Damwerth who wrote the book. It will also be published in the USA and in Russia.

Kölner Express, 04.19.2009, on “Mein eiskaltes Leben“

The reader has the sensation of sitting right opposite the old lady, clacking her knitting needles to a “back in the day…” Ruth Damwerth has preserved Marie Olschewski’s memories in a worthy way. Softly she describes a sunken world, Masuria – gently revived and captured through the delicate voice of Marie Olschewski. The sound of a voice still very much turned towards life.

Marler Zeitung, 02.07.2004, on “Wo gehst du, Mariechen?“

A newspaper article drew the historian and German studies specialist’s attention to the farmer from Masuria. “Eight times I went to visit Marie Olschewski in Marl last year. It was a pleasure to listen to her story.” From the tape recordings of these cozy chats the Munsterian “knitted” a moving piece of literature.

Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 03.02.2004, on “Wo gehst du, Mariechen?“

His past is ca 1,5 centimeters wide. He is holding it in his hand. It reads “Der Heringsbändiger.” A life – black on white. 215 pages hot off the press. Martin Schwabe has seen a lot during the past 78 years. The Weimar Republic, National Socialism, the Cold War, the Reunification. “My neighbors said I should write it all down”, Martin Schwabe smiles. In Ruth Damwerth he has found an author who has a strong sense of bringing the spoken word to the page. And Schwabe has a lot of words. Many experiences to recount. “It was definitely 40 hours of tape recordings”, the Munsterian author recalls.

Grevener Zeitung, 09.03.2005, on “Der Heringsbändiger“

It seems like there is no shortage of topics where Ruth Damwerth is concerned. They seem to fly towards her as she is a curious person with the ability to allow people the space to recount while she listens.

Die Glocke, 04.16.2015

An impressive piece of work that closely confronts the reader with the difficult pre-war years of a Polish citizen with German nationality in the lower region of the river Weichsel. An insight into a simple rural life riddled with hardship, so poignant that the uprooting of these people through their displacement at the end of the Second World War becomes convincingly close and palpable. At the end it is clear why this life story is “bittersweet”. A book that is easy to read and easy to recommend.

Der Westpreusse, 12/2007, on “Zitronenberge an der Weichsel“