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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  883 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Die ehrgeizige Irmina reist Mitte der 1930er Jahre nach London, um eine Ausbildung zur Fremdsprachensekretärin zu beginnen. Dort lernt sie Howard aus der Karibik kennen, dem sie sich im Streben nach einem selbstbestimmten Leben verbunden fühlt. Durch den klugen und zielstrebigen Oxfordstudenten beginnt Irmina ihren Blick auf die Welt zu öffnen. Doch findet ihre Beziehung e ...more
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published October 8th 2014 by Reprodukt
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  883 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Sam Quixote
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 1930s England, Irmina, a young German exchange student, befriends Howard, a black scholarship student from Barbados attending Oxford, but money problems force her back to Germany, prematurely ending their burgeoning relationship. Before she can make it back to England, WW2 kicks off – will the two ever see each other again?

I was really impressed, not to mention thoroughly enjoyed, Barbara Yelin’s Irmina. The comic is partly based on her grandmother’s letters and diaries, as well as resear
David Schaafsma
Yelin, a Munich-based illustrator, finds a box of letters and a diary after her grandmother's death and we are off: Irmina is a fictionalized biography of said grandma, told in three parts with different watercolor schemes to fit the different tones of the sections. In the first she is studying and working in London to be a typist/clerk, in 1934. She's not political in the least, which is evident when she meets and falls in love with Howard, from Barbados, the first black man to attend Oxford. I ...more
Whitney Atkinson
3.5 Stars

I tried typing this review in German but I got stuck after the first sentence because it's hard to formulate my complex emotions about this book in another language that I can only write at the level of a 10 year old in lol. So I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. Irmina was a great character who I could relate to, I liked seeing historical England, and her relationship with Howard was really meaningful and powerful. However, near the middle of this book, she goes back to Nazi G
Dov Zeller
What a gorgeous. engaging and troubling book. A biography of sorts of the author's grandmother, who, as a young adult, wanted nothing more than to live in a world that supported her industry and independence. One might look at her and think she is "a person ahead of her time." And yet, she only wants to fight that which directly gets in the way of her own goals. The women who paved the way for her particular struggle are little acknowledged by her, and she uncritically takes in propaganda, parti ...more
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
The sad story of a young woman who was just finding herself only to be lost in war. The choices that we all make in our day to day existence become the hidden history behind every social movement...and after events that shape the world have lost momentum we must all reflect on the role our choices made in making us who we are.
'Leef je volgens je eigen keuzes of worden keuzes voor je gemaakt?' Daarover gaat deze beeldroman. De Duitse Irmina reist in 1934 naar Londen om een opleiding tot internationaal secretaresse te volgen. Ze weet wat ze wil: een zelfstandige vrouw zijn, een opleiding volgen en eigenlijk had ze willen studeren. Het is een moeilijke tijd. In Duitsland komt Hitler aan de macht en Irmina wordt door iedereen in Londen continu geconfronteerd met de politieke veranderingen in haar thuisland. Omdat ze daar ...more
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, library
While visiting my public library, I found this gem on the new book shelf. An excellent graphic novel. Beautifully presented and author Barbara Yelsin tells the story of her grandmother during WWII in Berlin. The story is based on her grandmother's letters and diaries. An excellent perspective of German life during the rise and fall of the Third Reich.
Highly recommend.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yelin's Irmina is a sobering story inspired by the life of real individuals, and runs as thus. In the 1930's, the young German woman Irmina makes her way to England to find her independence. There she meets Howard, a studious, kindly gentleman. Both are outcasts in society's eyes, her for being a working woman and German, and him for being black and for studying at a prestigious university, and it is because of this shared status they form a bond. But when a series of unfortunate events beset Ir ...more
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laurence by: Nicolas, Maxime, Sielke & Lotte
Ontzettend mooi getekende graphic novel, de mooiste die ik al gelezen heb. Het verhaal vertelt over een Duitse vrouw (vooral) tijdens WOII en hoe ze meedraait in het systeem. Het siert dit boek dat het nooit dramatisch of sentimenteel wordt, en dat het zo de belangrijke vraag in hoeverre alles de verantwoordelijkheid van elke mens apart is geloofwaardig aan bod brengt. En vooral: kan je helemaal uitsluiten dat je zelf ook zo zou handelen als je, net zoals Irmina, gewoon je eigen leven wil leiden ...more
Moira Macfarlane
‘Leef je volgens je eigen keuzes of worden die keuzes voor je gemaakt?’ Deze indringende vraag is de eerste die je treft als je de achterkant van het boek leest, een vraag die Barbara Yelin bezighoudt na het vinden van een doos dagboeken en brieven in de nalatenschap van haar oma. Deze vondst inspireerde haar om deze, bijna 300 bladzijden tellende, striproman over Irmina te maken, een jonge Duitse vrouw, om via haar een beeld te schetsen van de zwijgende generatie Duitsers die de Tweede Wereldoo ...more
I'm noticing a trend. At least, I think I'm noticing a trend.
I've noticed a few - no, a trickle of books about the Holocaust from the perspective of Germans who were bystanders. Not directly controlling events. Not underground railroading the targets. Not targeted for concentration camps themselves.
Just living their lives alongside the horror.

"Just" seems like the wrong word.

(view spoiler)
'Irmina' is a fictionalised biography of the author's grandmother, and it's a fascinating and rather different look than I expected at the Nazi era. Irmina is a German working and training in London a few years before World War Two, at the rise of the Nazi party. She meets Howard, the first black man to attend Oxford University, and their differing backgrounds, aspirations and motivations are a large foundation for their friendship-almost-relationship, and also their separation. It's told in thr ...more
(Nearly 4.5) Irmina is one of the most visually stunning graphic novels I’ve ever come across. Not only that, but it’s based on a fascinating family story: after her grandmother’s death Yelin, a Munich-based artist, found a box of diaries and letters that told the story of a budding love affair that was not to be and charted a young woman’s gradual capitulation to Nazi ideology. How could her grandmother go from being a brave rule-breaker to a cowed regime supporter in just a few short years, sh ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Leef je volgens je eigen keuzes of worden keuzes voor je gemaakt?'

De ambitieuze en beetje eigenwijze Duitse Irmina reist in 1934 als 19-jarige naar Londen voor een opleiding tot internationaal secretaresse. Ze wil vrij zijn, studeren, haar eigen geld verdienen en haar eigen leven opbouwen. Ze is stil, serieus en soms zelfs streng. Een jonge vrouw die 'iemand' wil worden. Een jonge vrouw die weet wat ze wil.

In Londen leert ze Howard kennen, één van de eerste zwarte studenten in Oxford. Net als z
Elizabeth A
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, graphix
I actually think the less you know going into this graphic novel the better, so I'll keep my comments to a minimum.

The author finds a cache of letters and journals that her Grandmother kept, and creates a fictionalized biography based on that material. The story unfolds over three sections, and the major action occurs in the mid-1930s in London and Germany. The art while not as polished and finished as some, wonderfully evokes the right mood for each of the sections.

I am always fascinated to re
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this in German but it was recently translated into English, too. I liked the author's artwork here better than any graphic novel I've ever read--beautiful little vignettes and double-page spreads evoking London, Berlin, and the Caribbean at different points in the 20th century. Each period has its own accent color that draws out the mainly grayscale drawings.

The reason you should read the book, though, its is topicality. The author based it on her grandmother's letters and diaries, which
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I don't know how they do it, but most of SelfMadeHero's publications are a hit with me and so is one of their most recent publications Irmina. Irmina is a young German lady that moves to London in the mid 1930's to work on a better future. At a cocktail party she meets Howard Green, who is one of the first black students in Oxford. The two immediately bond. However what could have been a perfect love story ends quite abruptly as Irmina has to move back to Germany. She finds work in Berlin, but s ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
This was such a beautifully illustrated graphic novel (the book itself too was beautiful; hard cover, smooth pages; I loved it). There were so many images on one page--sometimes up to eight panels! I have no idea how long this must have taken. Also a very good book to read due to the political situation we are in right now. It inspired me to keep questioning myself and pushing myself not to be just "a normal American."
Derek Royal
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend and listener of the podcast recommend that I read this book, and I wanted to do so not only because of his suggestion, but also because we're about to begin a new monthly series on The Comics Alternative devoted to European albums or bandes dessinées. This will be one of the books that inaugurates that series.

That episode can be found at
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Prachtig uitgewerkt verhaal. Prachtige tekeningen.
5 sterren voor de eerste helft van het boek, 4 voor de tweede helft.
Els Deveuster
Ik pikte deze graphic novel op als leestip van een vriendin. Het is de eerst graphic novel dat ik las. Wat is me dat goed meegevallen. Het verhaal sprak mij erg aan, ik lees wel graag over de tweede wereldoorlog. Prachtige tekeningen illustreren dit verhaal. We volgen het levensverhaal van een Duitse vrouw. Een jonge vrouw met dromen, die "iemand" wilde worden. Het naziregime duikt op, ze kan haar dromen niet meer najagen, huwt en krijgt een kind en de oorlog breekt uit.
Een meeslepend verhaal ov
Koen Claeys
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dit is een beeldroman over de impact van het naziregime op een Duitse vrouw, over keuzes die men maakt of niet kan maken. Het verhaal heeft me geraakt. Een uitzonderlijke strip zoals er maar weinig gemaakt worden. Prachtig uitgegeven hardcover.
Nov 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: auth-f, x2016-read
I can't write anything else but that I'm so angry.
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
De jonge Duitse Irmina vertrekt halverwege de jaren dertig van de vorige eeuw naar Engeland met het plan een studie te volgen en een nieuw, ander leven op te bouwen. Ze is een ambitieuze, zelfstandige vrouw die voor haar mening uitkomt, maar de gevoelige, politieke situatie in haar eigen land niet volgt. Helemaal thuis voelt ze zich niet, als Duitse wordt ze met de nek aangekeken. Ze raakt stevig bevriend met Howard Green, een van de eerste zwarte Oxford-studenten, beiden buitenstaanders. Als ze ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
"Irmina" is a beautifully illustrated story that tackles, with a small and personal lense, that oft-repeated question: how did ordinary Germans stand by while the Nazis did what they did? For that matter, how did ordinary Germans become Nazis in the first place?

Based on her grandmother's letters, Barbara Yelin attempts to figure out how this woman, who seemed so independent and even forward-thinking in some ways when she was young, ended up as a Nazi sympathizer later in life. The strength of
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best thing about this was the beautiful art. Okay story told from a different perspective of WW2.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the evocative water color artwork in this graphic novel. The story is deeply sad, but not in the way a WWII story usually is sad. There's no heroism here, it's a more quiet tragedy, telling of how an independent-minded woman learns to close her eyes to evil. It made me cry.
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ich habe diese Graphic Novel regelrecht verschlungen, die Geschichte von Irmina von Behdinger, welche geprägt ist von Visionen, Bedürfnissen, Ziele im Leben und der Liebe und sich zeitlich von 1934 bis 1983 zieht bewegt und füllt einige emotionale Lücken welche man über die Zeit des Nationalsozialismus hat.

Kurz über die Handlung - die Geschichte beginnt in London des Jahres 1934 wo Irmina im Zuge eines Austauschprogramms in England leben und arbeiten darf. Von Anfang wird vermittelt, dass dieser
Stewart Tame
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a powerful book.

Set in the 1930's, Irmina travels from Germany to London to attend school to become a typist. She's somewhat uncomfortable as a foreigner in Great Britain, and she doesn't appreciate being asked all sorts of questions about the political climate back home. She just wants to complete her training and make something of her life. She meets Harold, a young man from Barbados studying law at Oxford. Although he tries not to let it affect him, his skin color makes him the subject
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Barbara Yelin, geb. 1977 in München.
2004 Diplom der Illustration an der HAW Hamburg. Barbara Yelin lebt und arbeitet als Comiczeicherin und Illustratorin zur Zeit in Berlin und München.

Barbara Yelin (born 1977 in Munich) studied illustration at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. She lives and works in Berlin and Munich as illustrator and comic book artist. Her comic novels include »Le Vis
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