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Gauch, Sigfrid 1945-

GAUCH, Sigfrid 1945-


Born March 9, 1945, in Offenbach am Glan, Germany. Education: Attended Universities of Heidelberg and Mainz.


Home—Mainz, Germany. Agent—c/o Gollenstein Verlag GmbH, Kardinal-Wendel-Strasse 61, D-66440 Blieskastel, Germany. E-mail—[email protected].


German, philosophy, and ethics teacher. Rhineland Ministry for Education and Culture, Mainz, Germany, director of literature department, 1988—.


PEN Center Germany (board member).


Förderpreis des Südwestfunks, 1976; Pfalzpreis für Literatur, 1977; Förderpreis zum Kunstpreis des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz, 1979.


Schibbolet (poetry), Verlag der Karlsruher Bote (Karlsruhe, Germany), 1974.

Identifikationen (poetry; title means "Identifications"), Relief-Verlag (Munich, Germany), 1975.

Mitt-Teilungen und andere Nichtmöglichkeiten (poetry; title means "Memo Divisions and Other Nichtmöglichkeiten"), Pfaffenweiler Presse (Pfaffenweiler, Germany), 1976.

Lern-Behinderung: Handreichungen und Gesprächslandschaften (poetry), [Munich, Germany], 1977.

Portfolio (poetry), [Mainz, Germany], 1979.

Vaterspuren, Athenäum (Königstein, Germany), 1979, translation by William Radice published as Traces of My Father, University of London Press (London, England), 1999.

Das Labyrinth der Väter (television script; title means "The Labyrinth of the Fathers"), ZDF, 1980.

Doppelwertigkeiten oder Rheinland und Pfalz (television script; title means "Double Priorities or Rhine Country and Pfalz"), ZDF, 1980.

Wunschtage (poetry), F. Despalles (Mainz-Gonsenheim, Germany), 1983.

Besondere Erziehung: Normen und Ziele in der Sonderpädagogik Hempel, [Mainz, Germany], 1986.

Friedrich Joseph Emerich, ein Deutscher Jakobiner: Studien zu Leben und Werk (monograph), P. Lang (Frankfurt am Main, Germany), 1986.

Buchstabenzeit (poetry; title means "Letter Time"), Rhodt, 1987.

Zweiter Hand (novel; title means "Second Hand"), Pfälzische Verlagsanstalt (Landau/Pfalz, Germany), 1987.

Goethe's Foto: und andere Erzählungen (title means "Goethe's Photo and Other Stories"), Pfälzische Verlagsanstalt (Landau/Pfalz, Germany), 1992.

Winterhafen (novel), Gollenstein (Blieskastel, Germany), 1999.


A German poet and novelist, Sigfrid Gauch is best known internationally for his memoir Vaterspuren, which was first published in 1979 and translated into English in 1999. In the memoir, he recalls his father, Herman Gauch, a Nazi physician who was Gestapo leader Heinrich Himmler's personal doctor. Throughout the memoir, which was written after his father's death in 1978, Gauch seeks to reconcile the facts of his father's culpability in the Holocaust (and subsequent denial of it) with his memories of a beloved parent. Dr. Gauch was a "desk murderer," a bureaucrat who did not work directly with prisoners, but whose policies and actions led to their deaths. The author of New Foundations for Racial Research, Herman Gauch was the creator of the eugenics policy that removed blond, blue-eyed Polish children from their parents to have them raised as Germans. He remained an unrepentant anti-Semite until his death of old age.

According to Hazel Rochman in Booklist, "What this wrenching story shows … is that the son can never free himself of his father's guilt." Edward Cone, however, asserted in his Library Journal review that "because the son never confronts his father over his heinous past, the story lacks drama and urgency." Jewish Press reviewer Michael Skakun favorably assessed the book, noting, "In its attempt to break the silence and to take a moral account of deeds that defy enumeration, it serves as a family chronicle that examines guilt by proxy and measures the competing claims of filial loyalty and historical rectitude."



Booklist, October 1, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Traces of My Father, p. 298.

Library Journal, September 15, 2002, Edward Cone, review of Traces of My Father, pp. 89-90.


Jewish Press, (February 12, 2003), Michael Skakun, review of Traces of My Father.

Sigfrid Gauch Home Page, (June 10, 2003), biography of Sigfrid Gauch.*

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