I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I found this episode of Heimat to be quite different than the last. In this episode, there is a distinct idea of things changing fast. Paul’s siblings, Pauline and Eduard, are moving away to start their new lives in different towns, his own children are growing up, and the political atmosphere of Germany is radically different. No longer is the action, or at times lack thereof, in the episode focused solely on Schabbach. This seems almost contradictory to the title of the episode, “The Centre of the World.” But we’ll get to that.
In our last discussion of Heimat, we discussed the idea of Schabbach being representative of Germany as a whole. I agree with that statement and find that it resonates in this episode because things are changing so rapidly. All of Katharina’s children are moving past their village into the new era of technology and wealth. Pauline and her husband buy a car and are planning on expanding their home; Eduard marries the Berlin socialite, Lucie. In my opinion, this is indicative of a movement past the “old-fashioned,” as the new ways even force themselves into Schabbach. By the end of the episode, both Eduard and Pauline have returned to Schabbach, even if only for a visit, and so bring their new wealth, portrayed through the form of cars, with them. Even the unexpected visit of the French woman, Denise de Gallimasch, can be considered representative of the new ideas being forced into Schabbach, as it causes the townspeople to reconsider their place in the changing world. For those of you not quite sure if Schabbach is representative of Germany, how would you interpret these scenes? Is the introduction of newer ideas and technology simply the sign of time moving forward?
In this episode, there was also the idea of going away and coming back to home, a theme we’ve visited quite a lot this semester. Eduard and Pauline both leave, and then come back. However, I think that this return is much more a physical return than an emotional one. Although they are back in Schabbach, they both have new ideas and beliefs that directly contradict those of the village. For example, Eduard is persistent on Anton joining the Hitler Youth, yet Katharina tells Anton to wear his uniform. She believes that “the whole world’s living on a tick” and that “one day [they’ll] have to pay for all this.” To her, the new ideas of the world are only a warning of what is to come.
“The Centre of the World” is the title of this episode, yet it seems contradictory to the actions of the episode. Schabbach as the center of the world comes after the arrival of Denise de Gallimasch as one of the men in town say that they “don’t realize where [they’re] at,” and another responds that they’re “the centre of the world.” This brings up an interesting idea as to how the people of Schabbach define their world. For them, their home is the center and everything else revolves around it. Perhaps this is indicative of why the title of the series is Heimat as well? As previously stated, what I find so striking about this scene, and the name of this episode, is that people are moving away from Schabbach and its ideals. I’m not quite sure what to make of it at this point in the mini-series, but perhaps it is suggestive of home being the center of a person’s world: their actions, thoughts, and beliefs. That in the end home is what shapes a person. What do you think about Schabbach being the “centre of the world?” Does it mean something greater? Or does it show the misunderstanding of a people who believe the world revolves around life in their little town?