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Against forgetting

Scheisseimer. Sketched memories of a war

Koenraad Tinel

When German occupying forces invade Belgium in May 1940, the father of six-year-old Koenraad Tinel is on cloud nine. In the 1930s Tinel senior joined the Flemish National Solidarists, who idolized Hitler. Tinel’s older brothers sign up for the Waffen-SS and the Hitler Youth. Meanwhile Koenraad’s Jewish piano teacher, whom he loves and admires, disappears. After the Allies land in Normandy, the family gradually starts to feel the heat. They flee to Germany, where Koenraad is introduced to cold, hunger and deprivation, sees cities and people burn and wanders through the forests with his family. Their most precious possession is now the Scheisseimer, a toilet bucket that travels with them.


‘Scheisseimer’ is an overwhelming set of impressions in ink. Through the eyes of a child, we see the cruelty and banality of war come up against the naivety of a little boy who sees adventure and play in everything. At the same time the book depicts the struggles of an adult artist who is trying to come to terms with his past, his family and his origins. In that sense the family’s Scheisseimer literally allows him to unburden himself. A necessary book, full of darkness and empathy, heart-rending experiences and devastating disillusionment.

Ambivalent, subjective, with more questions than answers. And precisely for that reason very honest and brave
Rarely have we held a book that hits harder. A courageous book that will keep the reader thinking for a long time to come.
9e Kunst