Karlsbach (Baden), a semi-autobiographical account of post-World War Two Germany

Author: Maurice Albert Sacha Benfredj

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Benfredj, Maurice Albert Sacha, 2018 Karlsbach (Baden), a semi-autobiographical account of post-World War Two Germany, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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This PhD submission consists of a creative work, ‘Karlsbach (Baden): a semi-autobiographical account of post-World War Two’, and an accompanying exegesis, ‘Memories of Germany of the 1960s’. The creative piece is a book-length work of semi-autobiography that depicts a boy, Sacha, aged 12 to 18, growing up in Germany in the early 1960s. This was a time of great prosperity and a well-established second attempt at creating a German democracy, after the first attempt, the Weimar Republic, failed so miserably. Both the creative work and the exegesis set out to show that the outwardly portrayal of affluence and political stability was not a reflection of reality; below the surface, racism and Nazism still had a strong influence. Many of the adults Sacha encounters – parents, teachers, mentors – were practically immune from criticism, mostly by virtue of their money and influence. As a semi-autobiographical work, the author shows his own experiences of the time, which included emotional, physical and sexual abuse. The creative work consists of two main parts. The first concentrates entirely on the protagonist’s first day at a new school, using the experiences of that day, and the memories triggered by them, to set the background to his and his family’s life so far. The second part covers the next six years through a series of overlapping stories and episodes which, together, paint a picture of an unhealthy society. The exegesis puts the historical period of the 1960s in context, including by reflecting on some cultural, social and political matters raised in the creative work – and by using the influence of the novels and film adaptations of the bestselling German writer, Karl Friedrich May (1842-1912) as supporting evidence for the protagonist’s experiences and impressions of underlying racism. The exegesis also offers an explanation of the approach taken in the creative work, including discussion of the shifting narration (between 1st and 3rd person) and an explanation of the use of the term 'semi-autobiography'.

Keywords: Post-War Germany, Germany 1950s, Germany 1960s, Post-War Racism in Germany, hidden racism in Germany, life in post-war Germany, autobiography

Subject: Creative Arts thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2018
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Dr Patrick Allington