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This article examines Schwedenreiter (2018), the second novel by Austrian writer Hanna Sukare (b. 1957). It focuses on the eponymous grandson of a Wehrmacht deserter and his quest for his grandfather’s story to be rehabilitated in the village from which he originated. This comes in the wake of the rehabilitation of Wehrmacht deserters in Austria at the national level in 2009, which is explicitly thematized in the narrative. The analysis draws specifically on Marianne Hirsch’s concept of post-memory, on Ute Frevert’s thinking on shaming and humiliation, on historical scholarship pertaining to deserters in the Austrian context, and on relevant scholarship on memorials and memorialization. Ultimately, this article argues that Sukare’s Schwedenreiter presents continuing fault lines in the process of coming to terms with the legacy of Austrian Wehrmacht deserters, fault lines that are shown to persist, especially at the local level, despite the ostensible line in the sand with regard to official rehabilitation.

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This page is a summary of: “Unsere mutigen Feiglinge”: Remembrance of Austrian Wehrmacht Deserters in Hanna Sukare’s Schwedenreiter, Journal of Austrian Studies, September 2022, Project Muse,
DOI: 10.1353/oas.2022.0045.
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