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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 127

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, or: How Violence Develops and Where It Can Lead was a novel by Heinrich Böll, published in its original German (as Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum, oder: Wie Gewalt Entstehen und Wohin Sie Führen Kann) in 1974.

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In the novel and subsequent (1975) film version, Katharina Blum is a young housekeeper who falls in love with a young man.

That young man, Ludwig Götten, is wanted by the police on suspicion of being a bank robber.

Police investigators and tabloid journalists hound Blum about the case. The most intrusive journalist is named Tötges, played by Dieter Laser in the film, and the climax of both the novel and the film is a violent confrontation between him and Blum.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 955

Katharina Blum

Katharina Blum (ka-tah-REE-nah blewm), a twenty-seven-year-old certified housekeeper who has been in charge of the Blorna household for four years. Katharina is a very private and proper person and an almost compulsive worker bent on improving herself. When she meets a fugitive, Ludwig Götten, at a party, she immediately falls in love with him. After he spends the night with her in her condominium apartment, Katharina tells him how to avoid the police by crawling through the heating ducts, which, along with the whole complex, had been designed by her employer, Trude Blorna. She subsequently expresses no regret over her murder of the sensationalist reporter Werner Tötges and looks forward to life with Götten at the end of their eight-year prison terms.

Erwin Beizmenne

Erwin Beizmenne (EHR-veen BITS-mehn-neh), the chief crime commissioner. After Götten’s escape, Beizmenne, through a series of insensitive interrogations, attempts to establish a connection between Katharina and Götten’s crimes.

Werner Tötges

Werner Tötges (VEHR-nehr TEHT-gehs), a reporter for the sensationalist News. Tötges, disgracefully attacking Katharina’s character and honor, accuses her of involvement in Götten’s crimes. Katharina, distraught by the viciousness and lack of integrity of this man who has destroyed her privacy and reputation, invites him to her once-beloved apartment, purportedly for an interview, and shoots him.

Ludwig Götten

Ludwig Götten (LEWT-vihg GEH-tehn), a twenty-six-year-old army deserter who absconds with army funds. Götten, who is accused of being a radical bank robber and murderer, is under police surveillance when he meets Katharina. He is later wounded when apprehended by the police. He affirms Katharina’s innocence.

Hubert Blorna

Hubert Blorna (BLOHR-nah), a forty-two-year-old corporate attorney. Katharina works for Blorna and his wife, Trude. Blorna and his wife depend on Katharina to bring order to their household and lives. Blorna, who is in love with Katharina, agrees to serve as a lawyer not only for her but for Götten as well. He is distraught over the course of events and, in his despondency, neglects his appearance and physical hygiene. The scandal has undermined his association with Lüding and Sträubleder Investments and has left him and his wife in serious financial difficulties.

Trude Blorna

Trude Blorna (TREW-deh), an architect and the wife of Hubert Blorna. Trude Blorna is an outspoken person whose student radicalism is capitalized on by Werner Tötges, who refers to her as “Trude the Red.” The architectural firm with which she is associated attempts to dismiss her because of the Blum scandal, and she is blacklisted by firms that believe that her reputed radicalism and association with Katharina will alienate potential customers.

Alois Sträubleder

Alois Sträubleder (AH-loh-ees STROYB -leh-dehr), an influential businessman who is Hubert Blorna’s friend and client. Sträubleder, a married...

(The entire section contains 1665 words.)

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Critical Essays