life stories

remembered... recounted... recorded!

Browse through life stories from the biography Publishers´s programme – only through those, of course, who were approved for publishing. A lot of biographies were designed and printed for family and friends only and are therefore not on display.

All books (apart from those marked “out of print”) can be ordered in any bookshop, online bookshop or directly at the publishing house via email. Shipping to Germany is free, shipping to the US is 5.00 $.

On display besides many intriguing stories: A lot of experience by now…

Mein Herz an stillen Tagen

„Die Angst war da, ob wir es wollten oder nicht. Die Liebe hingegen nahm kaum Gestalt an. Ständig schien sie zu zersplittern und in die Vielzahl ihrer vermeintlichen Gegenteile umzuschlagen. Wie hätten wir von der Liebe sprechen können, wenn alles andere uns derart zum Schweigen brachte? Wenn selbst mein eigenes Atmen in den höchst angespannten Situationen zu einem ohrenbetäubenden Geräusch werden konnte? Denn das Atmen war ein Gradmesser für die Angst. Das kaum hörbare flache Atmen, das schnelle Atmen, das panische Atmen, rasendes Herz! - und das erleichterte Ausatmen, wenn es gut gegangen war “

Mit atemberaubenden Sätzen bringt die Autorin uns die tiefen Empfindungen eines Kindes nahe, das mit einem trinkenden und gewalttätigen Vater aufwächst. Sie schildert ihre Suche nach einem Weg aus der Sprachlosigkeit. Doch mit der Sprache kommen auch die Empfindungen zurück…

„Tausend Gründe hatte es gegeben für das Scheitern meiner Familie. Nur für ein Gelingen gab es keinen einzigen.“

Eva Klaffke-Römer: "Mein Herz an stillen Tagen". 1. Auflage ISBN: 978-3-937772-37-0 : TB 200 Seiten, 14,90 Euro

Das halbe Leben ganz.

Als wir neun Dresdnerinnen uns zur Erzähl- und Schreibgruppe fanden, stand neben vielen anderen verbindenden Elementen eine wesentliche biografische Gemeinsamkeit im Mittelpunkt: Unser Leben in der DDR. Von frühester Kindheit an bis ins mittlere Erwachsenenalter bildete dieses Land den Rahmen, in dem wir uns entwickelten, Prägungen erfuhren, Pläne verwirklichten oder aufgaben, Begrenzungen wahrnahmen und – jede auf ihre Weise – manchmal überwanden. Grob gerechnet ist es die Hälfte unserer bisherigen Lebenszeit, die sich untrennbar mit der Geschichte der DDR verknüpft - aber nicht darauf reduziert werden kann. Wie wir geworden sind, was unsere Kindheit prägte, wovon wir träumten, wem wir uns verbunden fühlten, was uns trug, antrieb und politisch bewegte – all diesen Fragen nachzuspüren, erwies sich als ebenso herausfordernder wie erkenntnisreicher Prozess, denn ungeachtet der gemeinsamen Sozialisationserfahrungen trat dabei ein Kontrastreichtum zutage, der uns manchmal selbst erstaunte. Von einer Gleichförmigkeit der Lebenswege, wie sie der DDR-Biografie oft unterstellt wird, kann keine Rede sein… 

Angelika Weirauch, Hansi-Christiane Merkel (Hg): „Das halbe Leben ganz".  1. Auflage ISBN: 3-937772-36-3; TB 352 Seiten, 18,90 Euro

Wo gehst du, Mariechen?

At the age of 105 Marie Olschewski is looking back on her life. Born in 1897 it spans across an entire century – the 20th century that has challenged her with two wars, three flights and the loss of her home. All the more moving to see how the farmer’s wife and mother of nine masters everyday life. With her detailed descriptions and gentle tone Marie Olschewski revives a now sunken world – Masuria.

Ruth Damwerth: „Wo gehst du, Mariechen?“ The story of the Masurian farmer’s wife Marie Olschewski and her country. 2., supplemented edition with photographs
ISBN: 3-937772-32-5; paperback 148 pages, 12,90 Euro

“Only during the nights between Christmas and Epiphany, these where the “Holy Nights” during which one was not allowed to sew or knit, that was the tradition. If one took up a needle during these Holy Nights, it was said that animals would be born with their ears sewn together, deaf, the following year.”

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?“

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.
ISBN:
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“

Der Heringsbändiger

Whoever was born in 1927 was particularly close to doom: This was the first age group that grew up under the complete influence of the National Socialist education system implemented as early as school and “Jungvolk” and was also the last year to be called up to military duty and sent to the slaughter at the front as Hitler’s youngest recruits. Martin Schwabe belonged to this group. As a “quarter Jew” he had experienced the darker side of the Nazi regime and volunteered for military service as he was eager “to belong”. At the age of sixteen he was a soldier, at the age of twenty-one he returned home from a Russian prisoner of war camp to what had in the meantime become the GDR and after all the bitter experiences and swearing to himself to never eat with the wolves again, maybe not all is well that ends well…

Ruth Damwerth: Der Heringsbändiger. Martin Schwabe’s Tale of the 20. Century.
ISBN: 3-937772-05-7; paperback 220 pages, 15,90 Euro

“When I was young Mother occasionally worked as a sales promoter for Persil. While she was at work I was in the Lindenstrasse in the care of teacher Motsche’s wife. Mrs Motsche was the first person to dress me in a uniform of sorts, a brown shirt with necktie. I have no recollection of this myself, but I have been told that I looked very cute trying to imitate the marching SA storm troopers as a three- or four-year-old tiny tot…”

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“