Berlin – One of Germany’s most important contemporary authors, Walter Kempowski, died early Friday at the age of 78, his publisher said. Kempowski, who established himself as a bestselling author and a chronicler of the German middle class, had been suffering from intestinal cancer. He is best known for his series of novels called German Chronicles and the monumental Echolot (Echo Sounder), a collection of documents reflecting the reality of life during World War II. German government spokesman Thomas Steg described Kempowski as “one of the most prominent authors in the German language”. Kempowski’s first success as an author was the autobiographical novel Tadelloser und Wolff, in which he describes his youth in Nazi Germany from the viewpoint of a well-off middle class family …
Walter Kempowski – Germany (1929 – 2007)
He said: ” … I’m a participant of the post-war era. I paid the price for the sins of others. My family did nothing awful. My father helped a few Jews escape to Sweden. But he was no hero. Nor was my mother” … (full interview text).
Find: his books on Literaturarchiv; on wikipedia (scroll down); on Google book-search; about him on Google scholar-search, and on Google blog-search; and his publications on his own english website, und auch sein Werkverzeichnis auf der deutschsprachigen Internetseite.
Walter Kempowski is one of north Germany’s greatest writers. Apart from his novels, one of the works which has brought him great renown, is a collection of documents reflecting the reality of life during the Second World War. The title he gives to these works is “Echolot” – echo sounder – as he probes into the past. In his house in the north German countryside, Kempowski is surrounded by thousands of letters and documents he has collected over the years. Among them are diaries, letters, photographs and postcards – most of which come from ordinary people. He bought some of them in second-hand bookshops and on market stalls, while many more are sent to him as unsolicited material. In some respects, he has become the keeper of the national memory. His main work charts five weeks in 1943, when the tide of war was turning against the Germans in Stalingrad. Each week is represented by dozens of quotes from people from all walks of life … (full text).
Walter Kempowski’s first success as an author was the autobiographic novel Tadellöser und Wolf, in which he described his youth in Nazi Germany from the viewpoint of a well-off middle class family. In several more books he completed the story of his family from the early 20th century into the late 1950s, when he was released from an East German prison in Bautzen where, accused of spying for the US military forces in West Germany, he had been incarcerated for eight years. In West Germany he became a teacher in a small village near Hamburg. In 2005 he finished his enormous oeuvre Echolot, a collection and collage of documents by people of any kind living in the circumstances of war. Echolot consists of thousands of personal documents, letters, newspaper reports, and unpublished autobiographies that had been collected by the author over a period of more than twenty years. The documents are now deposited in the archive of the Academy of Arts in Berlin. He died of cancer in Rotenburg at age 78 … (full text, scroll down to ‘works’).
BERLIN (AP) — Author Walter Kempowski, a chronicler of German history best known for his books on World War II that drew on personal narratives, died Friday. He was 78. Kempowski died of cancer at a hospital in northwestern Germany, his publisher Albrecht Knaus Verlag said. The tragedy of World War II, expulsion and displacement and the tumultuous postwar years were themes that dominated his work. A passionate collector of dairies, memoirs, letters and personal accounts of individual German histories, Kempowski became best known for his written collages of the works, including “Deutsche Chronik” or “German Chronicle” and “Echolot,” in addition to his autobiographical works. Kempowski’s best known book in Germany was the novel “Tadelloeser & Wolff,” based on his experiences during World War II, which was later made into a movie. Born in the eastern German city of Rostock in 1929, Kempowski served in the Hitler Youth and also worked as a courier for the Luftwaffe in 1945. After the war, he went to work for the U.S. Army in Wiesbaden, but was arrested by Soviet authorities during a visit to his home city in what later became communist East Germany … (full text).
The Academy of Arts in Berlin will open its exhibition on the life and works of Walter Kempowski tonight … (full text, May 19, 2007).
Reiches, Schönes, Grauenhaftes, ein Interview.
Ich habe die Einheit nie aus den Augen verloren. Ein großer Teil meines schriftstellerischen Werkes dreht sich um den Osten, um die Geschichte meiner Familie in Mecklenburg. Dass die Wiedervereinigung eines Tages so schnell kommen würde, damit habe ich aber nie gerechnet. Ich hätte mich notfalls auch mit einer Konföderation zufrieden gegeben, wenn die Menschen in Freiheit leben und sich hätten besuchen können. Durch die Europäische Union sind wir ja mit Österreich nun auch in einem Verbund – so hätte das ja auch mit der DDR passieren können. Aber diese Debatte jetzt nachträglich zu führen, halte ich für überflüssig. Es ist anders gekommen – zum Glück … (ganzer Interview-Text).
Walter Kempowski (* 29. April 1929 in der Hansestadt Rostock; † 5. Oktober 2007 in Rotenburg (Wümme)) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller. Er wurde vor allem durch seine stark autobiografisch geprägten Romane der Deutschen Chronik bekannt sowie durch sein Projekt Echolot, in dem er Tagebücher, Briefe und andere Alltagszeugnisse unterschiedlicher Herkunft zu collagenartigen Zeitgemälden verarbeitete. Kempowski gilt als einer der bedeutendsten deutschen Autoren der Gegenwart … (deutsches wikipedia).
Inzwischen wurde in Giessen die Kempowski-Gesellschaft gegründet. Die konstituierende Sitzung des Vorstandes fand am 25. August 2007 in Giessen statt … (full text).