Monday, December 13, 2010

The German Series #6 - Siegfried Lenz

Siegfried Lenz (1926) is a German writer, who has written novels and produced several collections of short stories, essays, and plays for radio and the theatre. He was awarded the Goethe Prize in Frankfurt-am-Main on the 250th Anniversary of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's birth. 
Siegfried Lenz was born in Lyck (Ełk), East Prussia, was a son of a customs officer. After his graduation exam in 1943, he was drafted into the navy.
According to documents released in June 2007, he may have joined the Nazi party on the 20th of April 1944. This was released with the names of several other well known German authors and persons, like Dieter Hildebrandt and Martin Walser. Shortly before the end of World War II, he defected to Denmark, but became a prisoner of war in Schleswig-Holstein.
In 1951, Lenz took the money he had earned from his first novel, "Habichte in der Luft", and financed a trip to Kenya. During his time there, he wrote about the Mau Mau Uprising in his history "Lukas, sanftmütiger Knecht". Since 1951, Lenz worked as a freelance writer in Hamburg and was a member of the literature forum "Group 47". Together with Günter Grass, he became engaged with the Social Democratic Party and aided the Ostpolitik of Willy Brandt. A champion of the movement, he was invited in 1970 to the signing of the German-Polish Treaty.
Thanks, Alex


  1. Hello Daan
    You forgot his most important work, "Deutschstunde".
    Very much recommended reading, although I hated having to read it in school :)

  2. Hi Alex,
    I missed that one at high school (and may not have enjoyed it much, at that time), but ordered it from the Wellington library - in English, alas. Reading "The German Lesson" in it's original language may a bit much for me these days...
    I'll keep you updated on the progress!