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Memorial to the Future by Volker von Torne, trans. Jean Boase-Beier

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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. His father had been a member of the SS in Germany in the Second World War, and as a consequence, his poetry is written from the perspective of someone who suffered, through no fault of his own, from terrible guilt after the war. This selection from von Törne's collected poems is particularly significant in that it is a powerful and moving articulation of the psychological burden still carried by countless people today whose voices are not often heard, a burden which von Törne's powerful, poignant and sometimes angry poetry helps us all the better to understand.



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