Print

Klützer Winkel and Uwe-Johnson-Haus, Klütz, Germany

Location
Uwe-Johnson-Haus, Im Thurow, D-23948 Klütz (in the design stage, to be opened in 2004)
Klützer Winkel, sea resorts between Priwall and Boltenhagen on the coast of the Baltic Sea

Content
The planned Uwe-Johnson-Haus in a new five-floor building in the small town of Klütz is intended to host a literature house for the work of German post-war-novelist Uwe Johnson (1934 - 1984). Klütz (in his novel called Jerichow) is he stage for Uwe Johnson's four volume epic Jahrestage. Aus dem Leben der Gesine Cresspahl, the most voluminous of all German post-war-novels, published during the years 1970-1983. Jahrestage (Anniversaries) is the grand novel about Mecklenburg that stretches from Klütz, Rostock and Güstrow all the way to Staten Island, New York, where the protagonist Gesine Cresspahl works as a translator in a banking house after her move from Düsseldorf, where she finds her individual “Mecklenburg”, from where she looks back at her family's history. Placed in both Nazi-, East- and West- Germany, Jahrestage is a most significant work for the post-war-mentality in Germany, the friction of innocence and guilt, typical for the year 1968. Seen from New York, the Baltic Sea becomes something to be “recalled”, for Gesine Cresspahl, the main character, it has turned into an obsessive dialogue with the dead, part of memory, but a “Homeric memory”, as Johnson's colleague Max Frisch wrote.

“Klützer Winkel”, the name for the “forgotten” area north of Klütz with its old avenues of trees and sea resorts from Lübeck-Priwall (i.e. the former border between West- and East-Germany) on to Boltenhagen that play role in Johnson's novels, should be included in excursions from Klütz. A good example would be the Dassower See, where the wall hid the view to the Sea (“the water: British Zone, Federal Republic of Germany”). Through Germany's unification, a critic wrote, Uwe Johnson's fictitious landscapes have turned into a sort of no man's land.

Uwe Johnson spent some formative years in Güstrow and took his A levels there in 1952, before he made a “move” to West-Berlin in 1959, as he stubbornly called it. In the GDR not a single work of him was published. In 1994 the city library of Güstrow took his name and has been a research centre and a place for readings and exhibitions ever since.