Sigrid Damm

Time Moves in a Circle

(German title: Im Kreis treibt die Zeit)
ca. 278 pages
Sigrid Damm
Foto: Sigrid Damm
© Ute Karen Seggelke

Sigrid Damm was born in Gotha/Thüringen and lives as a writer in Berlin and Mecklenburg. A member of P.E.N. and the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz, she has received numerous recognitions and awards for her works and is the author of the bestseller, Christiane and Goethe: A History (Christiane und Goethe. Eine Recherche).

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Sigrid Damm's books with Insel: over 1 million copies sold


Sigrid Damm’s new book presents a retrospective love for her father. All her life, she was in conflict with him, rejected him. It wasn’t until shortly before his death that a tentative relationship started to develop between the two. More than twenty years later, she begins to trace her father’s life.

She consults documents and old photos, which had been stored away in a basement for many years, and at the same time she describes the historical events that had affected his life. Born in Gotha in 1903 and having died there in 1993, he witnessed the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Nazi reign, the GDR regime and the Federal Republic.

This book depicts the father’s childhood in the middle- class Jugendstil-house in which Sigrid Damm would grow up too, the end of World War I and the fteen-year-old’s apprenticeship at a Jewish bank and his career there. A reprimand due to his closeness to his superiors troubles him deeply and shapes him for the rest of his life. In the spring of 1945, he is drafted into military service and subsequently taken prisoner by British forces; it’s not until 1948 that the father returns to the family in the Soviet-occupied zone. For the rest of his life, he is going to regret not having stayed in the Western part of Germany.

Sigrid Damm’s careful, persistent search provides answers to questions she never asked her father.


»A touching memoir which spans a period of time from the Weimar Republic through a reunited Germany, clear, clever and, on the level of language perfectly shaped.« Aachener Zeitung

»... as cleverly and delicately as Damm writes here, reading her book becomes an experience which both upsets and moves you at the same time.« MDR KULTUR

»In her book Time Moves in a Circle Sigrid Damm is now on a search for traces and wanders with her father through the history of her hometown of Gotha. ... with the same rigour with which she wrote her delightful books on Goethe and Weimar classicism.« Freie Presse

»This is a warm book. And it does something to its readers: it causes their own position to start wobbling.« Berliner Zeitung

»Time Moves in a Circle tells the story of the 20th century in an exemplary fashion, moving through adaptation and revolt in the Nazi period, war, fear and disorientation and life in the GDR and the reunited Germany.« Mannheimer Morgen

»There’s no other German non-fiction author who writes like her. You can immerse yourself in Sigrid Damm’s prose, you can swim through it with powerful strokes and feel refreshed and invigorated afterwards. Or you can float in it and enjoy every single expression and each precisely placed citation.« Das Magazin

Other publications

Christiane und Goethe/Christiane and Goethe (1998)

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