Star without a sky (novel)

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Leonie Ossowski (2007)

Star without a sky is a book written by Leonie Ossowski in 1958 that deals with the Holocaust and is set towards the end of the Second World War . It was first published in 1959 under the pseudonym Jo von Tiedemann by Verlag der Nation (GDR), from 1978 by Beltz & Gelberg Verlag and is often read in school lessons. The work deals with the dealings of a German group of friends with a Jewish concentration camp refugee of the same age and the situation in Germany shortly before the end of the Second World War. Both the book itself and the film adaptation published in 1980 received mostly positive reviews.


Four young people found a food depot in the cellar of a ruin. They always go to this when the hunger gets too great because the food is heavily rationed. One day they happened to find a Jew named Abiram there who fled the concentration camp and is now hiding in the cellar. The young people decide to lock him up there to discuss what to do with him. One of the young people, Willi, is a staunch member of the Hitler Youth and believes that the only right decision is to extradite the Jews. The others, however, stop him and want to help the boy find a certain Arthur Dressler who allegedly helps refugee Jews. He got the address from a fellow inmate in the concentration camp.

Willi feels betrayed by this and wants to hand over the Jews on his own in order to look good as a Hitler Youth. That is why he takes no account of his friends, whom he locks up with the Jew in said cellar when they visit him. He reports the discovery of the Jew to the district manager, who initially considers him a busybody. Finally he lets himself be convinced by him and follows Willi.

But when they arrive at the cellar, it is empty. The district manager now suspects that he has fallen for a bad joke and gives Willi a beating as a punishment. In reality, however, the boys only escaped because one of them had a duplicate key made. When Willi also told the director of the school the boys attend, a staunch National Socialist named Jähde, about the Jew because he did not want to let the incident rest, the headmaster asked him to track down Abiram.

Since the young people cannot find Arthur Dresseler in the meantime, Paule, Ruth and Antek decide to hide him themselves for the time being. Ruth tells her grandfather about Abiram because she is afraid for the Jew and doesn't want him to go to the concentration camp again. Ruth's grandfather does not support the Nazi regime and was already in prison because of his political views. He would like to speak to Abiram himself, so they look for him in his hiding place, the city gate. However, Abiram thinks that the two arriving people want to bring him back to the concentration camp because he cannot identify them more precisely and does not recognize Ruth. So he flees and joins a group of refugees. These are necessarily accommodated in the youth alumni .

A short time later, the attack by the Russians who want to invade Germany begins. Abiram and the youngsters flee independently of each other into the crypt to seek protection from the shelling . When Willi recognizes Abiram in the crypt, he wants to report to the director. On the way to the alumni, however, he is shot by Russians. Mr. Nagold, a teacher at the alumnate, made it into the crypt just in time and announced: “The Russians are here.” The novel ends with Ms. Nagold asking her husband: “Is there now peace?” The latter replies: “Yes , Peace."

An epilogue that could describe the further life of the characters is missing.


The book was widely praised for its realistic portrayals of life and fascism . Die Zeit wrote : “[...] it shows from fresh and angry memory how much children were affected by fascism and war, but also how unaffected they could remain, how they created their own world, how the "ideals" of adults for them have shrunk to the tangible, obvious: to get something to eat, to have a home. "


In 1980, Stern ohne Himmel was made into a film, with the script also coming from Leonie Ossowski . Directed by Ottokar Runze . The film was also praised primarily for its realistic portrayal and excellent acting. For example, the taz wrote : “... I recommend STAR WITHOUT HIMMEL to all young people who want to learn a little more about the time of National Socialism than can be read in the history books. It's an honest, realistic, and extremely tough film whose young actors couldn't have been better chosen. You don't play. You live. Nothing else is possible for this film ... “It was also praised that one could identify with the film very well. Manfred Hobsch writes in the magazine Zitty : “... The film STERN WITHOUT HIMMEL is suitable for breaking through the fog of repression, because it achieves a great deal of sympathy for the individual fate in addition to the identification, which should be easy for young viewers in particular which makes you extremely affected ... "

Editions and translations (selection)

  • Leonie Ossowski: star without a sky. Beltz & Gelberg, Weinheim 1978, ISBN 3-407-80618-3 .
  • Leonie Ossowski: Stjärna utan heaven. AWE / Geber, Stockholm 1982, ISBN 91-20-06803-4 .
  • Leonie Ossowski: star without a sky. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1983, ISBN 3-596-27546-6 .
  • Leonie Ossowski: Kochav bli Samayim. Am Oved, Tel Aviv 1986.
  • Leonie Ossowski: star without a sky. Heyne Verlag, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-453-02928-3 .
  • Leonie Ossowski: star without a sky. Pavillon Verlag, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-453-87492-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. Leonie Ossowski: Star without a sky . Beltz & Gelberg, Weinheim 2006, ISBN 978-3-407-78985-3 , p. 175.
  2. Peter Härtimg: Star without a sky. Website Die Zeit. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  3. a b base film : 60 years of the end of the war . Retrieved September 18, 2014.