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2017 | 14 | 27 | 39-59

Article title

Alfred Klaar: berlínské reflexe rodných končin



Title variants

Alfred Klaar: Berlin Reflections on the Homeland Landscape

Languages of publication



The aim of the paper is to develop at least a part of a voice which is still difficult to understand in the Czech language environment, the voice of the others, (ex-rivals), the ‘expelledʼ, and to anchor it in the work and politics of remembering, registering and writing history of one specific author (we are talking about the continuity of perspective: about fidelity to images, local mythology, its logic). For thirty years, Alfred Klaar (born as Karpeles in 1848 in Prague) co-established Prague discourse in German language from various positions (as a journalist, theatre critic, representative of various societies, ceremony speaker, associate professor of the local German polytechnic etc.). When he moved to Berlin in July 1899, he was almost fifty-one years old. He left his home (both in the narrow sense of the word, as well as the wider sense of ‘Austrian homeʼ, so important to him), but he always kept the world he had lived in for so long in his mind and preserved many links with it in spite of the geographical distance. He also returned to his homeland on various occasions (funerals and other ceremonies, lectures) and he also remained talked about primarily among the Prague German circles; as a piece of memorabilia he was dusted and remembered in stories, and at the same time rightfully seen and honoured as a foreign envoy and speaker of compatriot cultural and political interests. Klaar spoke about Prague, his ‘father townʼ, and the lands near the Prussian border through the history of the German-speaking enclave, while Czechs only occurred sporadically in his retrospect writing. He repeated his thesis about an environment destroyed by ‘Slavic egoismʼ and belligerence, he spoke of the role of the German community in Czech lands as a heroic cultural mission, ungratefully displaced by the dominant policy of Czechisation in the second half of the 19th century, which strived to ‘impress upon the city a unilateral Slavic characterʼ. Only with reluctance did he adapt to the factual geopolitical development — he saw the post-war situation of the German minority in Czechoslovakia as a continuation of unfair marginalisation of his fellow countrymen.



  • Institut pro studium literatury, o. p. s., Praha
  • Ústav české literatury a komparatistiky, Filozofická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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