End of a business trip

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The end of a business trip is a story by Heinrich Böll published in 1966 .


Johann and Georg Gruhl, father and son, are cabinet makers. Johann Gruhl has amassed considerable tax debts; his situation worsened when his son was drafted into the armed forces. At the end of his service, Georg Gruhl received the order to generate the mileage required for the routine inspection by aimlessly driving a DKW MUNGA off-road vehicle , but instead drove home. Father and son Gruhl prepare the jeep together and burn it while singing litanies on the street. The crime, which was initially classified as politically motivated, will be reassessed as a form of anti-art (" happening ") in the course of the negotiation and after hearing the art professor Büren . The local district court sentenced them to full compensation and six weeks' imprisonment for gross mischief .

Narrative implementation

Böll describes the one-day trial before the local court. The life and crime of the Gruhls are presented in a differentiated way through the numerous testimonies.

"How Böll turns the trial into a kind of turbulent Rhenish family get-together on the one hand, but how he receives that eerie touch on the other hand, which also characterizes the offense under assessment, that is narrative direction on a large scale." (Süddeutsche Zeitung)

For his stylistic devices, see also the corresponding section under “ Diglossia in literature and film ”.

First edition


In 1971 the feature film of the same name by Hans Dieter Schwarze based on this material was released .


  • Joachim Linder: The Art of Criminal Procedure: The Criminal Justice in Heinrich Böll's story "End of a Service Trip" (1966) . In: Constructing Reality through Crime and Punishment . Edited by Detlev Frehsee, Gabi Löschper and Gerlinda Smaus. (Interdisciplinary Studies on Law and the State, Vol. 5) Nomos, Baden-Baden 1997, pp. 304–28. PDF / digitized version of the author