The Case of Sergeant Grischa

The Case of Sergeant Grischa

"The Case of Sergeant Grischa" (1927) is a war novel by the German writer Arnold Zweig. Its original German title is "Streit um den Sergeanten Grischa". It is part of Zweigs hexalogy "Der große Krieg der weißen Männer" (The great war of white men). It was part of the so-called "war book boom" of the late 1920s, during which many veterans of the First World War turned their memories and experiences into semi-autobiographical novels. The first English edition was published in 1928. the first movie based on the novel was created in 1930 in the USA, a second one was made in Germany in 1968.


The Russian soldier Grischa escapes from a German prison camp and attempts to return to the family home. After his escape he becomes involved with a group of outlaws, including a young woman, Babka, who dresses as a man and has been prematurely aged by her traumatic experiences. Grischa and Babka become lovers. When he leaves, she gives him the identity tag of a former lover, Bjuscheff, so that if he gets caught he will be mistaken for a deserter and not be sent back to the prison camp. She follows him at a distance in case he ever needs her help.

Grischa is eventually captured. Being illiterate, he does not realise that calling himself Bjuscheff worsens his plight, as he has been unable to read the notices saying that all deserters must hand themselves in to the occupying German army within three days or face execution as spies. Only when he is condemned to death does he realise what has happened, and he reveals his true identity. The local German authorities send for his former prison guards, and having confirmed his true identity, they send for advice to Schieffenzahn, the chief administrator on the eastern Front. Schieffenzahn orders that the original error must be ignored, for the sake of discipline. Grischa is therefore sentenced to be shot.

There follows a power struggle between the local military authorities and the administrators. The old general sees it as a point of honour not to give in to Schieffenzahn's order. Although he fails to convince Schieffenzahn face to face, the latter thinks better of it afterwards and rescinds the execution order. However, a heavy snowfall has brought down the communication wires, and the telegram of reprieve is never sent. In the meantime, Babka hatches a plan to poison the prison guards, whilst Lieutenant Winfried, the general's nephew, tries to find alternative ways of getting Grischa out of prison. Both plans fail because Grischa himself is tired of the struggle and refuses to leave, preferring to face execution rather than continue as a pawn in the larger game.

The book is a satire, focusing on the way in which innocent men are sacrificed in war, one irony being that the authorities spend more time and energy on the niceties of Grischa's case than they do on trying to save their own soldiers from their fate.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Case of Sergeant Grischa — Filmdaten Originaltitel The Case of Sergeant Grischa Produktionsland USA …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Grischa — Infobox Given Name Revised name = Grischa imagesize= caption= pronunciation= gender = meaning = region = origin = related names = footnotes = Grischa is the Russian short form for the name Gregory or Grigorij in Russia. There are multiple… …   Wikipedia

  • Der Streit um den Sergeanten Grischa — Umschlag der Erstausgabe von 1927 Der Streit um den Sergeanten Grischa ist der Titel eines 1927 im Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag in Potsdam erschienenen Romans des Autors Arnold Zweig; die englische Erstausgabe erschien 1928. Der Roman ist Teil von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • 1927 in literature — The year 1927 in literature involved some significant events and new books.Events*Random House, book publishers, is founded in New York City by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer.New books*James Boyd Marching On *Edgar Rice Burroughs The Outlaw of… …   Wikipedia

  • Academy Award for Sound — The Academy Award for Sound Mixing is an Academy Award that recognizes the finest or most euphonic sound mixing or recording, and is generally awarded to the production sound mixers and re recording mixers of the winning film. Compare this award… …   Wikipedia

  • List of teams and cyclists in the 2007 Tour de France — The list of teams and cyclists in the 2007 Tour de France contains the professional road bicycle racers who competed at the 2007 Tour de France from July 7 to July 29, 2007. [fr icon et… …   Wikipedia

  • Zweig, Arnold — born Nov. 10, 1887, Glogau, Silesia, Ger. died Nov. 26, 1968, East Berlin, E.Ger. German writer. Zweig, who was Jewish, was exiled from Germany by the Nazis in 1933. He lived as an émigré in Palestine until 1948, when he moved to East Germany. He …   Universalium

  • Zweig, Arnold — (1887 1968)    writer; his antiwar novel Der Streit um den Sergeanten Grischa (The case of Sergeant Grischa, 1927), ranked with Erich Remarque s* All Quiet on the Western Front, became an international best seller. He was born in Gross Glogau,… …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

  • Arnold Zweig — (10 November 1887 ndash; 26 November 1968) was a German writer and anti war activist. He is best known for his World War I tetralogy.Life and workZweig was born in Glogau, Silesia (today Glogow, Poland) son of a Jewish saddler. After attending a… …   Wikipedia

  • Max Steiner — Born Maximilian Raoul Steiner May 10, 1888(1888 05 10) Vienna, Austria Hungary (now Austria) Died December 28, 1971(1971 12 28) (aged 83) Hollywood, California, USA Occupation composer, arrang …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”