Cover image for Belonging : a German reckons with history and home
Belonging : a German reckons with history and home
Krug, Nora, author, artist.
Personal Author:
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, 2018.

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
"A revelatory, visually stunning graphic memoir by award-winning artist Nora Krug, telling the story of her attempt to confront the hidden truths of her family's wartime past in Nazi Germany and to comprehend the forces that have shaped her life, her generation, and history"--
Geographic Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NC975.5.K78 A2 2018 Graphic Novel New Materials
NC975.5.K78 A2 2018 Graphic Novel Popular Materials-New Fiction
NC975.5.K78 A2 2018 Graphic Novel New Materials
NC975.5.K78 A2 2018 Graphic Novel New Materials
NC975.5.K78 A2 2018 Graphic Novel New Materials

On Order



* Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award * Silver Medal Society of Illustrators *

* Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR , Comics Beat, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal

This "ingenious reckoning with the past" ( The New York Times ), by award-winning artist Nora Krug investigates the hidden truths of her family's wartime history in Nazi Germany.

Nora Krug was born decades after the fall of the Nazi regime, but the Second World War cast a long shadow over her childhood and youth in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. Yet she knew little about her own family's involvement; though all four grandparents lived through the war, they never spoke of it.

After twelve years in the US, Krug realizes that living abroad has only intensified her need to ask the questions she didn't dare to as a child. Returning to Germany, she visits archives, conducts research, and interviews family members, uncovering in the process the stories of her maternal grandfather, a driving teacher in Karlsruhe during the war, and her father's brother Franz-Karl, who died as a teenage SS soldier. In this extraordinary quest, "Krug erases the boundaries between comics, scrapbooking, and collage as she endeavors to make sense of 20th-century history, the Holocaust, her German heritage, and her family's place in it all" ( The Boston Globe ). A highly inventive, "thoughtful, engrossing" ( Minneapolis Star-Tribune ) graphic memoir, Belonging "packs the power of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and David Small's Stitches " (

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Krug, born in Germany in the 1970s, relates her lifelong search to understand her homeland and family in the still-dark shadow of WWII. From her teen years on, she feels a gnawing guilt over her heritage and also that she lacks a true heimat, or place of deep familiarity. As an adult, she consults historical records and genealogists to piece together her family's past. Her personal and scholarly exercise becomes an often-uncomfortable test of her determination. Waiting to receive the U.S. military file on her grandfather, recorded in 1946 but just recently made available, she feels she's about to "find out if it's malignant or not." Photos, pressed flowers, personal letters, historical documents, and her own illustrations and comics make up Krug's mixed-media illustration style, with which she conveys significant emotion. Backgrounds and text are occasionally both so light or dark that her words are practically illegible text is often broken by illustrations in the center of the page, adding to the essentially fragmented nature of her search. A deep and affecting mix of text and illustration.--Annie Bostrom Copyright 2018 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this provocative search into her family history, Krug, a Gen X German and longtime U.S. resident, struggles to reconcile homesickness for a land of mystical forests and finely made products with the guilt she feels regarding her ancestor's possible Nazi involvement. She cites the German saying "order is half your life's battle" and takes a stereotypically German approach to a detailed process that might be called "restorative documentation" for justice. Krug delves deep into archives official and familial, from 1930s and '40s German phone books to the Google street view of a Jewish retiree's Florida residence. She hopes the latter can tell her whether her grandfather was a "true" Nazi or a sometimes-vocal critic who was strong-armed into joining the party to keep employed. The resulting scrapbook collage is as lush as it is meticulous, containing folk-art-style depictions of historical events, realistic illustrations, and photographs. Krug remarks on the taboo of talking about German gentile suffering as she relates the sad story of her uncle, killed at 18 in Italy, in whose shadow her father was born into grief. Like most obsessions, Krug's yields limited results; some facts remain unknowable and some deeds irredeemable. But this work of stunning craftsmanship stands as a testament to speaking out as a necessary first step to healing. Agent: Alex Jacobs, Cheney Agency (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Krug (Kamikaze) examines her past, present, and future as a German in this exquisitely illustrated and hand-lettered graphic novel. Being German has always connected Krug to the horrors of the Nazi reign of her home country, and throughout her childhood she wrestled with understanding her family's involvement in the war. Here she details conversations with her parents, long-lost and distant relatives, as well as her trip back to Germany, where she attempts to make sense of historical records, memories, and intense emotional responses as she learns the answers to questions she's been struggling with since coming to live in America 20 years ago. Photographs, letters, drawings, and thrift-store finds are included as touchstones for readers as they travel along with Krug on her journey. The entire story is tied in to the idea of heimat, the German word for the place that first forms us, and Krug's quest to determine what that means for herself and her family. VERDICT A touching story of questioning the unquestionable and finding yourself in the process. Recommended for teens and adults as well as those interested in a highly visual family examination across generations. [See Prepub Alert, 4/30/18.]-Traci Glass, -Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.