“Un infamante segreto di famiglia”. L’Operazione Gomorra e la letteratura tedesca del secondo dopoguerra

Raul Calzoni

This paper focuses on W. G. Sebald's On the Natural History of Destruction, the angry study of German amnesia about the Allied bombing, in order to highlight the limits of the author’s discussion of the German processing of World War II. In particular, the article starts from Sebald’s thesis, according to which the air war remained in German postwar literature “a kind of taboo”, that is to say a “shameful family secret, a secret that perhaps could not even be privately acknowledged". By relying on some novels of the period, the paper demonstrates that, far from being a “secret”, the “Operation Gomorrah”, the bombing of Hamburg in World War II, was widely thematised in German literature from different narrative perspectives.