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Auf Deutsch! Book 2
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Return to book index Kapitel 16 : Heinrich Böll
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Heinrich Böll


In Kapitel 16, you read Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral by Heinrich Böll. He is among the most famous German authors of the 20th century. He fought in World War II and his experiences in the War formed the basis for his later writings. He was a member of the German post-war literary movement, Gruppe 47, and in 1972 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.


Visit the Nobel Prize committee link to see why they selected Böll for the award. You might also read his acceptance speech. As you read, think about the following questions:

  • What kind of writer is Böll? Is he a romantic writer? A realist? A science fiction writer?
  • What is meant by a "renewal of German literature"?
  • What does Böll mean when he says "Ich brauche wenig Wirklichkeit" (I need little reality)?
  • What is the typical background to Böll's stories? Why is this background found so often in his fiction?


Find another story by Heinrich Böll in your school or local library. Keeping in mind what you have read on the Nobel Foundation Web site, read the story. Does the story have Wirklichkeit (reality)? Is it ironic? What is the background to the story? How do you think Böll's experiences shaped the story? Do you think he had a vision for the future of Germany or German literature? Write a brief essay and discuss Böll's stories in class.