The study examines autobiographies of non-exiled writers after the war as testimonies to a 'crisis of biography' sparked off by the National Socialist dictatorship. The reflection on biographical narrative manifest in the experimental approaches taken and the recent research discussion on this subject both call for a systematic review of the theoretical foundations of autobiographic narrative. The differing constructions of identity and individuality are all traceable to the vitalist model of biography common to the writers in question. The sudden awareness of the problems involved in talking about one's own life had the effect of problematizing the conventions and typical structures of the genre. Ultimately most of the writers belonging to the right-wing conservative camp before 1933 engaged in a radically self-critical reckoning with their own past.