Zimpren train station

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The Zimpren train station is a short story by the German Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Böll , which was first published in 1958 in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit .

The content of this short story is the development of a village into a small town due to oil deposits and the rapid decline in the number of workers in Zimpren and the activity of the staff at the newly built train station.


Due to successful oil drilling, the number of inhabitants increases, so that a small town is created. Terra Spes is offering widow Klipp 69 times that amount for her property. She is the only one in the village who refuses this offer. Zimpren is building a modern train station with a waiting room, news cinema, bookstore, dining room and fast goods handling . Honored railway officials are promoted to Zimpren. The train station is raised to the level of an express train station. Widow Klipp and her servant Goswin claim that the earth should never be trusted. After a while the oil jet becomes smaller until at some point no more oil flows. The result is the departure of workers. Terra Spes hires a blasting specialist to get the oil flowing again. This attempt fails, Zimpren is deserted. Oil rigs are dismantled and apartment blocks are sold. Widow Klipp buys almost all of the cinnamon because the land price is very low.

Trains stop in Zimpren, with no one getting on or off. The result is a bitterness of the railway officials. The station now only serves 78 people who live in Zimpren. Since the posts will not be deleted, they will still have to be filled. In the administrative district of Wöhnisch, Zimpren is considered a punishment station for railway officials, as the activities of the officials are very modest. The station's income in one year is 13 marks and 80 pfennigs. The station master hopes to be transferred as a result of scandals. But you can only be transferred to Zimpren, but not away from Zimpren.

Interpretative approach

In the short story "The station of Zimpren" exerts Heinrich Boell criticism of the fast pace and incitement of society and mocked the policies or railway company.

After the oil in Cimpren began to flow and the village was flooded with crowds, politics reacted quickly. An express train station was built. The fast money attracted many, only the local Flora Klipp doesn't want to know anything about it. She clearly distances herself from the agitation of her surroundings.

The oil disappeared faster than it came and after a while the pipelines were empty. With the oil, the crowds who once saw the future in Zimpren also disappeared. The only remnant of the "golden age" in Zimpren is the express train station, where the officials who were once transported now live to themselves. Flora Klipp, initially portrayed negatively, is now seizing the opportunity and buying land in Zimpren cheaply. She is portrayed as a winner who was not deterred.

With this story, Heinrich Böll tries to show the reader that the critical discussion about social convictions and a certain distance from the fast pace of life pay off.


  • Heinrich Böll: The train station of Zimpren. Stories. Afterword by Gerhard Joop. Ullstein, Frankfurt a. M. 1959.
  • Becht, Ulrike: "The train station of Zimpren". In: Interpretations of Heinrich Böll written by a working group. Short stories II . 5th ed. Munich 1975. pp. 81-93.
  • Durzak, Manfred: The German short story of the present. Stuttgart 1980. [on Zimpren train station : pp. 384–386.]
  • Preuss, Helmut: "Sub terra spes". The story "Der Bahnhof von Zimpren" by Heinrich Böll. In: Becker - Bender - Böll and others. North Rhine-Westphalian literary history for teaching. Edited by Gerhard Rademacher. Essen 1980. (new educational efforts. 85.) pp. 97–112 and 195.