What was the first novel

Siegfried Lenz

Siegfried Lenz, born on March 17, 1926 in Lyck, East Prussia; died on October 7, 2014 in Hamburg, was a German author and narrator whose oeuvre includes over a hundred stories, radio plays, essays, plays, speeches and reviews.

The novel is one of his most famous worksGerman lesson from 1968, which is the common statement, one only did one's duty during National Socialism, critically examined. The work is one of the greatest fiction sales successes in Germany after 1945. In addition, Siegfried Lenz is considered one of the pioneers of the literary genre of the short story.

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curriculum vitae

  • 1926: Siegfried Lenz was born on March 17th in Lyck in East Prussia.

  • 1927 – 1943: His mother leaves him at school age after his father's death. Lenz grows up with his grandmother in Lyck and goes to school there. At 17 he took a secondary school diploma and was drafted into military service.

  • 1944: Siegfried Lenz allegedly joins (the Berlin Federal Archives according to) the NSDAP at.

  • 1945 – 1951: He is deserting in Denmark. Lenz becomes a British prisoner of war. After his return from captivity, he began studying philosophy, literature and English at the University of Hamburg. Siegfried Lenz breaks off his studies. He is doing a traineeship at the daily newspaper The world and works there as an editor. The budding writer marries his first wife Liselotte (born 1918 or 1919; † February 5, 2006). Lenz becomes a freelance writer. His first novel There were hawks in the air appears.

  • 1953 – 1962: His second novel Duel with the shadow appears. He receives the Lessing Prize from the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Siegfried Lenz publishes his short story volume Suleyken was so tender. He is the writer of Group 47. Lenz receives the Literature Prize of the City of Bremen for his work Time of the innocent.

  • 1963 – 1977: Siegfried Lenz supports Willy Brand in the election campaign. He travels to Warsaw to take part in the signing of the German-Polish treaty. His hit novel German lesson appears. Lenz rejects the Federal Cross of Merit.

  • 1978: Siegfried Lenz publishes his novel Local museum.

  • 1984 – 1988: Lenz receives the Thomas Mann Prize and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

  • 1999 – 2003: He receives the Goethe Prize from the City of Frankfurt am Main. Siegfried Lenz receives a professorship at the Heinrich Heine University In Dusseldorf.

  • 2010: Lenz marries his second wife Ulla Reimer.

  • 2014: Siegfried Lenz dies on October 7th in Hamburg. He is buried on October 28th in the Groß-Flottbek cemetery.


Siegfried Lenz(born March 17, 1926 in Lyck, East Prussia; † October 7, 2014 in Hamburg) was one of the most famous German-speaking authors of the post-war period as well as the present. In many of his works he worked on the German past.

The writer wrote novels, short stories and short stories, among other things. He tended to accommodate his readers by giving in to the tendency to suppress Germany's unpopular past. The novel is considered the most important work German lesson from 1968.

Early years

Lenz grew up in the small town of Lyck in East Prussia. His father died very early. Thereupon he was raised by his grandmother, because Lenz ‘mother left Lyck after the death of her husband. The young Siegfried was then just of school age. At the age of 17 he passed a secondary school diploma and had to register for military service with the Navy (1943).

Allegedly Lenz stepped in Third Reich did not join the NSDAP on his own initiative. Documents of the Berlin Federal Archives however, prove the opposite. Accordingly, he joined the NSDAP just under a year before the surrender (May 8, 1945) on April 20, 1944.

In the last weeks of the second worldwar Siegfried Lenz sat down from his ship (the auxiliary cruiser Hansa) in Denmark and deserted. However, he was picked up by British troops in Schleswig-Holstein and was taken prisoner, where he was used, among other things, as an interpreter by a British discharge commission. Lenz, who later began to study and completed a traineeship, was already a short story advocate in his early years. He shaped the genre for many years and influenced numerous subsequent authors.

His short stories have been used as a pattern in school readings for decades. This included, for example, his work The lightship from 1960. His novels only became successful and well-known later.

Lenz grew from a short storyteller to a master of long prose. The literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki summarized this development metaphorically in 1963 in the following quote: "This narrator is a born sprinter who has got it into his head that he must also prove himself as a long-distance runner."

Student years, SPD and first novel

After his return from captivity, Siegfried Lenz began studying. He enrolled at the University of Hamburg and studied philosophy, literature and English. Before joining the company, however, Lenz broke off his studies and started a traineeship at the daily newspaper The world at. There he was also employed as an editor for almost a year (1950-1951).

Siegfried Lenz dared to become self-employed as a writer in 1951 and was active as an author in the Hamburg area and in northern Germany for decades. At the newspaper publisher The world he also met his wife Liselotte (born 1918 or 1919; † February 5, 2006) who married Lenz in 1949. His first wife later did the illustrations for some of his books.

No sooner had Lenz decided to at the publisher of world to quit, his first novel was also published There were hawks in the air (1951), who at Hoffmann and Campe was relocated. The author addressed his flight and his escape as well as the permanent fear of not being brought before a court martial and of being shot dead in the forests of Denmark.

Since a respectable fee had already been paid for his first work, Lenz took a trip to Kenya in 1951 and later incorporated his travel experiences into the story Lukas, meek servant flow in. His first novel was followed by the second under the title in 1953 Duel with the shadow. He then published a volume of short stories entitled Suleyken was so tender (1955) appeared, the radio play The most beautiful festival in the world (1956) and the novel The man in the stream (1957).

In Hamburg Lenz was a regular participant of the Group 47, a German-speaking writers' meeting to which Hans Werner Richter invited from 1947 to 1967. In 1953 he received the Lessing Prize of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, in 1961 the Culture Prize of the Landsmannschaft East Prussia and in 1962 the Literature Prize of the City of Bremen for his work Time of the innocent.

His involvement in Hamburg also included his work in the Hamburg office of Congress for Cultural Freedom. He supported the SPD and Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik. In 1970 Lenz even traveled to Warsaw to take part in the signing of the German-Polish treaty.

Literary influences and work

As a rolemodel or influencing personality in the background of his earlier works, Lenz was supported by the American author Ernest Hemingway, from whom he distanced himself again in the 1960s. Instead, William Faulkner became the leading figure in his work, and Lenz greatly adored the American Nobel Prize winner.

Lenz received criticism for his conventional style, which was rather old-fashioned and made use of numerous elements of the nineteenth century narrative style. Sometimes he was dubbed a traditionalist, while Reich-Ranicki considered him benevolent benevolent doubter designated. Lenz was always close to the reader and avoided the challenge for the sake of harmonious understanding, which he always cared more about than conflict.

Siegfried Lenz wrote fourteen novels over the period of his work, of which German lesson (1968) and Local museum (1978) are among the most important. He has also published more than a hundred short stories and short stories as well as essays, speeches, reviews, plays and radio plays.

From the 1990s he was no longer at the center of postmodern literature, but held his position as an important author of contemporary literature who, alongside Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass, played a pioneering role in post-war literature as an outstanding writer.

Late years and death in Hamburg

Just four years before his death (2010), Siegfried Lenz remarried his long-time neighbor Ulla Reimer. In 2014 he had it recorded that his estate or his personal archive would be in the hands of German Literature Archives should be handed over in Marbach. In the summer of 2014, he founded a non-profit foundation that is currently responsible for awarding the Siegfried Lenz Prize and is based in the Hamburg district of Barmbek.

Siegfried Lenz died on October 7, 2014 in Hamburg. He was buried on October 28, 2014 in the Groß-Flottbek cemetery. Immediately before his death, around 80 previously unknown poems by Siegfried Lenz were found, which are said to come from the years 1947 and 1949.

In it, the poet thematized his experiences in second World War and the difficulties Germany faced after the war was over. It has not yet been clarified whether these poems will be published posthumously.


  • Novels (longer prose)
    • There were hawks in the air (1951)
    • Duel with the Shadow (1953)
    • The Man in the Stream (1957)
    • Bread and Games (1959)
    • Talk of the Town (1963)
    • German lesson (1968)
    • The Role Model (1973)
    • Local history museum (1978)
    • The Loss (1981)
    • Parade ground (1985)
    • The sound sample (1990)
    • The Rebellion (1994)
    • Arne's estate (1999)
    • Lost and found (2003)
  • Novellas and short stories
    • Suleyken was so tender (short stories, 1955)
    • The most beautiful festival in the world (1956)
    • The contraband cabinet (1956)
    • The miracle of Striegeldorf (1957)
    • Hunter of ridicule. Stories from that time (1958)
    • Lukas, meek servant (1958)
    • A friend of the government (short story, 1959)
    • The lightship (1960)
    • Time of the Innocent (scenic work, 1961)
    • Moods of the Sea (1962)
    • The face (scenic work, 1964)
    • Lehmann's Tales (1964)
    • The spoiler (1965)
    • House search (scenic work, 1967)
    • People of Hamburg (1968)
    • The blindfold (scenic work, 1970)
    • As with Gogol (1973)
    • The Spirit of Mirabelle (1975)
    • Einstein crosses the Elbe near Hamburg (1975)
    • Three pieces (scenic work, 1980)
    • The End of the War (1984)
    • The Serbian Girl (1987)
    • Ludmilla (1996)
    • Onlookers (2004)
    • The Tales (2006)
    • Minute of silence (2008)
    • Landesbühne (2009)
    • The Easter table (2009)
    • The Distance Is Close Enough (2011)
    • The Mask (2011)
    • Harmony (2011)
    • Coast in binoculars (2012)
    • The night in the hotel (2013)
    • A Lovestory. Tender things from Suleyken. (2013)
    • The miracle of Striegeldorf. A Christmas Story. (2013)
  • Essays, children's books, speeches
    • Lotte shouldn't die (children's book, 1953)
    • Relationships (Essay, 1970)
    • The ruling language of the CDU (speech, 1971)
    • Lost Land - Gained Neighborhood (Rede, 1971)
    • That's how it was with the circus (children's book, 1971)
    • Conversations with Manès Sperber and Leszek Kołakowski (1980)
    • About Imagination: Conversations with Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, Walter Kempowski, Pavel Kohout (1982)
    • Ivory tower and barricade. Experiences at the desk (essay, 1983)
    • Telling a story - telling a story (Essay, 1986)
    • On memory (speeches and essays, 1992)
    • About the Pain (Essay, 1998)
    • Conjectures about the future of literature (essay, 2001)
    • Self-transfer. About Writing and Living (2006)
    • American Diary 1962 (2012)