This volume of selected poems by the German poet Volker von Törne may not make comfortable reading but it will certainly make a deep and lasting impression on all those who open its pages, for this is a collection of remarkable intensity. This intensity comes from the weight of guilt and anger in so many of the poems - not only von Törne's personal guilt about his father's being a unit commander in the SS and the fact that he had, as a child in the late 1930s, repeated the phrases he heard about German Nationalism and racial purity, but also the collective guilt of the German people after the Second World War and the Holocaust, as they attempted to forget or, in some cases, to insist they had known nothing.
It is no coincidence that the poet Volker von Törne was, for many years, the Director of Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (Action for Atonement - Service for Peace), the German charitable organisation for education and reparation in countries throughout the world that have suffered under fascism and other oppressive regimes.
Even today, there are many people in Europe and beyond who feel as von Törne did, although their voice is not often heard. This selection of his poetry, therefore, has a special significance; it is a powerful and moving articulation of the psychological burden still carried by countless people today through no fault of their own, a burden which this poignant poetry, with its careful balance between hope and pain, longing and despair, helps us all the better to understand.
ISBN pbk 978-1910345-64-1
ISBN hbk 978-1910345-65-8
ISBN ebk 978-1910345-66-5
Published October 2017