“Tell me, how was the war for you? What did you experience?” We, the generation born in the 1970’s, could ask these questions to our grandparents. The answers were oftentimes fascinating, sometimes adventurous and almost certainly burdensome. The lively stories of our grandparents were by their immediacy definetly different from everything we could read in history books or see in TV documentaries: They were real people. Often good people. Family. Our own children, born after 1990, the “Generation Y” and the “Millenials” often can’t ask the contemporay witness directly.
They only get to know the stories of their grandparents – the postwar generation – and what their learn in school. War movies and computer games also paint a picture of the history.
The lively stories of the Second World War, together with the people who experienced them, will inevitably fade soon.
We want to capture as many of these memories as possible in “Großväterland”.
The Medium Comic
We will tell their stories in form of episodes of a graphic novel, a comic book. In choosing this medium, we follow the tradition of the historical und documentary comic, which was established and coined by works like “Maus” by Art Spiegelmann, “Elender Krieg” (and several others) by Tardi, “Die Mauer” by Maiximilien Le Roy or “Alan’s War” by Emanuel Guibert.
If you want to learn more about the role of comics as a storytelling instrument in historical contexts, read the article “Why the medium comic is right for “Großväterland”” in the project blog.
Like these archetypes, we want to deliberately abstain from lecturing, while at the same time resist glorification or sugarcoating of the historical facts. “Großväterland” aims at bringing the expierineces at eye level with the affected and the reader. It is to report – from the subjective point of view of the storyteller. Told in fragments and memories of moments of one generation, happened in one of the darkest chapters of modernity.
Expert knowledge as foundation
It is a basic requirement for “Großväterland”, that the described events rest on a sound foundation with the history of the events of the Second World War confirmed by experts – in the frame of art and the necessary subjectivity of the individual storyteller. We are already in contact with academic historians and history teachers to assure this neutrality as much as possible and are going to intensify them further during the project. Other helpful contacts are also going to be included. A bulk of the budget will therefore also be invested in research. In this area of the project we would be thankful for offers and recommendations.
One last but important note regarding the political and social responsibility behind the project
We are totally aware of the impossibility to touch on the subjects Second World War and “Wehrmacht” without dealing with aspects of Nazism. However, we don’t want to be put off by this by comprimising the core idea behind “Großväterland” – which is to tell the stories of our grand – and great-grandparents. Having to consider these aspects throughout the project will be unavoidable. The issues themselves will also – where necessary – be part of the stories. They are an inextinguishable part of the legacy of this war.
We are fully aware of this responsibility.
Therefore we will seek contact to institutions and people, who can help and support us to deal with this important topic in a sensible manner. We would be really glad to get recommendations for contacts.
We are going to donate 7% of the funding-sum to the German organization “Netz gegen Nazis“. If we should recognize that perks are being bought by Nazis we are going to donate their whole funding some to the organization. So if there are Nazis out there who find “Großväterland” interesting – which we cannot forbid anyone – we are glad to hear that they want to actively support the fight against fascism and naziism.
Ok. So much about “Großväterland”.
What will be our next steps?
Next we are going to setup the crowdfunding campaing and shoot a little video in which we are going to present the whole project. A first 4-paged Pilot-Episode and a One-Page-Comic are going to show you the whole idea of the later graphic-novel. At the same time we put together the Perks you can buy later. As soon as all those materials are ready, we are going to inform the national and international press and start the crowdfunding-campaing in German and English. We think the kickoff will be around late October or early November 2014.