KATJA GARLOFF/AGNES MUELLER: We would like to ask you a few questions, starting with a question about your first novel, Winternähe, but also about your self-perception as a writer. We found it interesting that Lola, the protagonist in Winternähe, splits German society in two: into the “The Holocaust is so over” side and the “We cannot forget what has happened” side (Winternähe, 21). Do you see it that way as well? MIRNA FUNK: Yes, I see it that way too. I did not see it quite so clearly at
first, however, while I was writing the novel. But now, having published the novel and having spent two years grappling with the topic, I can say with certainty that there are these two sides: a side that can very emphatically feel the pain of the Holocaust, and a side that has no emotional access to it at all. During the past twelve months, I have seen that there are major differences between generations regarding this topic. Interestingly, those over sixty are much, much more empathetic, which I did not expect. I thought that the older people would be more defensive, because they were so close to it—but they are not that way at all. They are the ones who can actually handle the novel.
KG/AM: Perhaps this is because their closer proximity to the Holocaust makes them feel as though it remains an important topic?
MF: Yes, it's almost as though they think to themselves: “Well, she's right… .” I cannot explain why this is so, I can just empirically say that the older readers handle the novel much better, that they are much more able to communicate with me.
KG/AM: What function does literary writing have for you? Do you see writing against forgetting as one of the roles of your texts? Is writing a form of remembrance for you?
MF: I think so. It reminded me of the many forms of remembrance, and I think that literature can do that, yes, that it indeed should do that. I just wrote an essay about how biography can help us get away from this narcissistic writing. Because the biographical is always already political.