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German Author Honored by Juniata College with Doctor of Humane Letters Degree

(Posted May 11, 2004)

HUNITINGDON, Pa. -- Walter Kempowski, noted German author celebrated as the "voice of several generations of Germans," will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Juniata College at a special ceremony April 29 at the City Hall in Rostock, Germany.
The degree will be presented by Juniata Provost Professor Doctor James Lakso and Professor Doctor Klaus Jaeger, professor of German at Juniata, along with a rare Bible from Juniata's Beeghly Library special collections. The Bible, printed by Johann Barr in 1819 in Lancaster, Pa., is one of the college's best examples of its collection of Pennsylvania-German Bibles.
Walter Kempowski is best known in his native Germany for his fiction and documentation of memories from thousands of Germans who experienced World War II. Kempowski collected and published in the words of one reviewer, "the voices, words and hardships of a wide spectrum of people who have experienced modern Europe's brutal history." Kempowski believed that such sources have "historical truths not found in the evaluative judgments of the 'experts,' the academic historians."
Among his most famous works are "Das Echolot." "Days of Greatness," "Bloomsday '97," "Did You Ever See Hitler?: German Answers"and "Dog Days."
Kempowski served in the German military at age 16 and was a political prisoner of the Soviet authorities in occupied Germany after the war. He was imprisoned for eight years, an experience that formed the subject of his first book.

See related story, written in German, in Der Spiegel.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.