30 April 1945
Translated by Weiland Hoban & Iain Galbraith
with an afterword by Reinhard Jirgl
5.5 x 7.75 inches, 160pp October 2015
ISBN : 9780857422989
Rs 750.00 (HB)
The 30th of April 1945, a Monday, was the last working day observed in the Third Reich. It was followed by a national holiday and the transfer of what remained of the state to powers which had no control over the week-long no man’s land leading up to the surrender to the Allied Forces, marking the end of war in Europe. It was a day filled with contradictions and bewildering life events. The centre of Berlin was consumed by violent conflict—the Red Army occupied the city; Hitler committed suicide. By comparison, Switzerland seemed idyllic. In San Francisco, the United Nations were being founded.
In this latest book, Alexander Kluge describes local and global events from the day. It is about life in a small town already occupied by US forces, about the types of hairstyles as well as events happening around the world, including the story of two SS officers stranded on one of the Kerguelen Islands. One question emerges as ubiquitous and unavoidable: What is the appropriate reaction to this total upheaval of the status quo? Martin Heidegger, for instance, in the seclusion of Wildenstein Castle, falls back on the poetry of Hölderlin . . .
The collective experiences of all the lives turned upside down on the 30th of April 1945 extend into the present day, and looking back, 70 years later, we see our own reflection in those events.
Alexander Kluge is one of the major German fiction writers of the late- twentieth century and an important social critic. As a filmmaker, he is credited with the launch of the New German Cinema movement.