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Stephan Braese

Beyond Passports: Wolfgang Hildesheimer

A Biography

588 pages, 18 illustrations
Format: 14,0 x 22,2
ISBN 978-3-8353-1889-2

On the occasion of ­Wolfgang Hildersheimer’s 100th birthday on 9 December 2016: the first comprehensive biography of one of the most important post-1945 authors.

Wolfgang Hildesheimer is not only one of the most important German authors of the post-war era, but also a central voice for the politically committed middle classes. Born to Jewish parents, he left Germany in 1933 for England and Palestine. After the war, he worked as a simultaneous interpreter at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, and became a member of Group 47. Stephan Braese traces the various stages in his biography and sets Wolfgang Hildesheimer’s life and work in the context of history and discourse.
Hildesheimer’s multicultural experience, his emphatic commitment to psychoanalysis, his experiments with a fusion of literature, music and visual art, but also his attitude towards the German Nazi past, created the basis for a unique body of artistic work. His public statements on a large number of controversial issues show that Hildesheimer was a committed citizen and an intellectual. Within the prism of the biography, which examines a large variety of previously unprinted sources, a portrait of the old Federal Republic of Germany also arises – particularly its cultural environment, but also its political circumstances. Primarily, however, Stefan Braese identifies the factor that was crucial to Hildesheimer’s works: his incessant striving to overcome every fracture that had kept German culture separate from international developments during the years of the Nazi rule.

Stephan Braese is a professor of European Jewish literature and cultural history at the University of Aachen. Publications include: Die andere Erinnerung – Jüdische Autoren in der westdeutschen Nachkriegsliteratur (The Other Memory – Jewish Authors in West German Post-war Literature, 2010); Eine europäische Sprache – Deutsche Sprachkultur von Juden 1760 –1930 (A European Language – the German Language Culture of Jews 1760 –1930, 2010).