The Winter Garden
A German Family in the Long Twentieth Century

From the Empire to Reunification - the Eventful Century of a German Family  

The twentieth century was long and markedly turbulent in Germany. Wars, revolutions, crises and dictatorships alternated. People fell into deep poverty, became morally corrupted, or died in a random and meaningless way.

The Saxon Hilde Grunewald, daughter of a high school teacher, saw everything: she was almost a hundred years old. Born in the Imperial Age, formed by the First World War, the Weimar Republic, the Nazi dictatorship, the Second World War. Hilde experiences the rise, but also the collapse of the GDR - and finally the peaceful revolution of 1989, by which she becomes a citizen of the Federal Republic.

With historical precision and narrative skill literary scholar Jan Konst describes the life of his family in-law. Hilde's story, as well as that of her parents, children and grandchildren, reflects German history and is a fascinating journey through time in the long twentieth century, from the Empire to reunification. A unique family chronicle of four generations and one hundred and fifty years of German history.


»The author takes the reader on a journey through time that begins in 1871 and leads through the 20th century - from the Empire to reunification.«

»Literary non-fiction at its best!«
De Volkskrant

Original Language

Dutch, Balans

Available Material

Dutch pdf
English sample
German translation


on behalf of Balans Uitgeverij
World excl. Dutch

Rights Sold

  • Germany Europa Verlage

© Ekko von Schwichow

Jan Konst

born in 1963, Prof Dr Jan Konst has studied Dutch language and literature in Utrecht and is a professor for Dutch literature at Freie Universität in Berlin since 2000. He also writes literary non-fiction. Konst lives with his wife and two daughters in Berlin.