I'm reading "Der Vorleser" by Bernhard Schlink and encountered this sentence:

Manchmal hält die Erinnerung dem Glück schon dann die Treue nicht, wenn das Ende schmerzlich war.

I don't understand what halten + dem Glück means, so I thought perhaps it was a noun-phrase-thing die Erinnerung dem Glück but I've only found mention of die Erinnerung an etwas, so now I'm stuck. Could someone help me break down the meaning of the sentence?

2 Answers 2


The sentence uses a common German phrase "jemandem die Treue halten" (to remain faithful to someone). In your sentence the memory ("die Erinnerung") does not remain faithful ("hält ... die Treue nicht") to the happiness ("dem Glück").

The overall meaning of the sentence is that good memories can be tainted, even if only the end was painful.


The phrase you're looking for is "die Treue halten".

  • This is a good start, but seems to be somewhat incomplete.
    – Arsak
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 21:05

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