Walter Kempowski: German writer (1929 - 2007) | Biography, Filmography, Bibliography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Walter Kempowski
German writer

Walter Kempowski

Walter Kempowski
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German writer
A.K.A. Кемповский, Вальтер Кемповский, Кемпо...
Was Writer Screenwriter Historian Chronicler
From Germany
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature Social science
Gender male
Birth 29 April 1929, Rostock, Germany
Death 5 October 2007, Rotenburg an der Wümme, Germany (aged 78 years)
Star sign Taurus
Walter Kempowski
The details (from wikipedia)


Walter Kempowski

Walter Kempowski (April 29, 1929 – October 5, 2007) was a German writer. Kempowski was known for his series of novels called German Chronicle ("Deutsche Chronik") and the monumental Echolot ("Sonar"), a collage of autobiographical reports, letters and other documents by contemporary witnesses of the Second World War.


Childhood (1929-39)

Walter Kempowski was born in Rostock. His father, Karl Georg Kempowski, was a shipping company owner and his mother, Margarethe Kempowski, née Collasius, was the daughter of a Hamburg merchant. In 1935 Kempowski began attending St. Georg School; in 1939, he transferred to the local high school ("Realgymnasium").

During World War II (1939-45)

As a teenager Kempowski, who was unathletic and had acquired a taste for American jazz and swing music through his older brother, chafed under compulsory service in the Hitler Youth, and was transferred into a penalty unit (Strafeinheit) of the organization. In early 1945 he was drafted into the Flakhelfer, the youth auxiliary of the Luftwaffe, serving in a special unit that performed courier functions. Kempowski's father, who had volunteered for military service at the beginning of the war, only to be turned away because of his membership in the Freemasons, was accepted for service in summer 1940, and died in combat on 26 April 1945.


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 Breddorf (as of 1960), in Nartum [de] (as of 1965) and in Zeven (between 1975 and 1979).

In 2005 he finished his enormous oeuvre Das Echolot, a collection and collage of documents by people of many kinds living in the circumstances of war. Das 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. The last of the twelve volumes of Das Echolot has been translated into English by Shaun Whiteside under the title Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary from Hitler's Birthday to VE Day (Granta 2014).

Kempowski died of intestinal cancer, aged 78, in Rotenburg in 2007.

List of works

  • Im Block. Ein Haftbericht. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1969.
  • Tadellöser & Wolff. Ein bürgerlicher Roman. Munich: Hanser, 1971.
  • Uns gehts ja noch gold. Roman einer Familie. Munich: Hanser, 1972.
  • Haben Sie Hitler gesehen? Deutsche Antworten. Munich: Hanser, 1973 (=Did you ever see Hitler?: German answers, Michael Roloff (trl.) with a preface by Helen Wolff, postscript by Sebastian Haffner, New York: Avon Books, 1975. ISBN 0380005190.)
  • Der Hahn im Nacken. Mini-Geschichten. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1973.
  • Immer so durchgemogelt. Erinnerungen an unsere Schulzeit. Munich: Hanser, 1974.
  • Ein Kapitel für sich. Munich: Hanser, 1975.
  • Alle unter einem Hut. Über 170 witzige und amüsante Alltagsminiminigeschichten. Bayreuth: Loewe, 1976.
  • Wer will unter die Soldaten?, Munich: Hanser, 1976.
  • Aus großer Zeit. Hamburg: Knaus, 1978 (=Days of greatness, Leila Vennewitz (trl.), London: Secker & Warburg, 1982. ISBN 0436232901.)
  • Haben Sie davon gewußt? Deutsche Antworten. Hamburg: Knaus, 1979.
  • Unser Böckelmann. Hamburg: Knaus, 1979
  • Kempowskis einfache Fibel. Brunswick: Westermann, 1980.
  • Schöne Aussicht. Hamburg: Knaus. 1981.
  • Beethovens Fünfte. Moin Vaddr läbt. Radio plays. Hamburg: Knaus, 1982.
  • Herrn Böckelmanns schönste Tafelgeschichten nach dem ABC geordnet. Hamburg: Knaus, 1983.
  • Herzlich willkommen. Munich: Knaus, 1984.
  • Haumiblau. 208 Pfenniggeschichten für Kinder. Munich: Bertelsmann, 1986.
  • Hundstage. Munich: Knaus, 1988 (=Dog days, Norma S. Davis, Garold N. Davis, and Alan F. Keele (trls.), Columbia, SC: Camden House, c1991. ISBN 0938100785.)
  • Sirius. Eine Art Tagebuch. Munich: Knaus, 1990
  • Mark und Bein. Eine Episode. Munich: Knaus, 1991.
  • Das Echolot. Ein kollektives Tagebuch Januar und Februar 1943. 4 vols. Munich: Knaus, 1993.
  • Der arme König von Opplawur. Ein Märchen. Munich: Knaus, 1994.
  • Der Krieg geht zu Ende. Chronik für Stimmen - Januar bis Mai 1945. Radio play. Stuttgart 1995.
  • Weltschmerz. Kinderszenen fast zu ernst. Munich: Knaus, 1995.
  • Bloomsday '97. Munich: Knaus, 1997.
  • Heile Welt. Munich: Knaus, 1998.
  • Die deutsche Chronik. 9 vols. Munich: Knaus, 1999.
  • Das Echolot. Fuga furiosa. Ein kollektives Tagebuch Winter 1945. 4 vols. Munich: Knaus, 1999.
  • Walter Kempowski liest »Tadellöser & Wolff«. Audio book. Georgsmarienhütte: CPO, 2001.
  • Alkor. Tagebuch 1989. Munich: Knaus, 2001.
  • Der rote Hahn. Dresden 1945. Munich: Knaus, 2001.
  • Das Echolot. Barbarossa '41. Ein kollektives Tagebuch. Munich: Knaus, 2002.
  • Walter Kempowski liest »Aus großer Zeit«. Audio book. Georgsmarienhütte: CPO, 2003.
  • Letzte Grüße. Munich: Knaus, 2003.
  • Das 1. Album. 1981-1986. Frankfurt a.M. 2004.
  • Walter Kempowski liest »Schöne Aussicht«. Audio book. Georgsmarienhütte: CPO, 2004.
  • Das Echolot. Abgesang 45. Ein kollektives Tagebuch (=Swansong, see below). Munich: Knaus, 2005
  • Culpa. Notizen zum Echolot. Munich: Knaus, 2005.
  • Hamit. Tagebuch 1990. Munich: Knaus, 2006.
  • Alles umsonst (=All for Nothing, see below). Munich: Knaus, 2006.
  • Walter Kempowski/Uwe Johnson: Der Briefwechsel. Berlin: Transit, 2006. ISBN 978-3887472146.
  • Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich. Shaun Whiteside (trl.), New York: W.W. Norton, 2015. ISBN 978-0-393-24815-9.
  • All for Nothing. Anthea Bell (trl.), London: Granta Books, 2015. ISBN 978-1847087201.
  • Homeland. Charlotte Collins (trl.), London: Granta Books, 2018. ISBN 978-1783783526
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 08 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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