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Born May 2, 1901, in Hamburg; died Oct. 27, 1964, in Berlin. German writer (German Democratic Republic). The son of a worker; worked in a factory.
Bredel joined the Spartakus Bund in 1917 and the Communist Party of Germany in 1920. He was a participant in the Hamburg Revolt in 1923. In prison (1930-32) he wrote the novels The Machine-Construction Factory (1930; Russian translation, 1932), Rosenhof Street (1931); Russian translation, 1932), and A Paragraph in Defense of Property (Russian translation from the German manuscript, 1933). In 1933 the Hitlerites imprisoned him in a concentration camp; he escaped in 1934 and lived in the USSR. During the national-revolutionary war of the Spanish people (1936-39), Bredel was a commissar in the Thälmann Battalion. In his widely known novel The Ordeal (1935; Russian translation, 1935) and also in the novel Your Unknown Brother (Russian translation from the German manuscript, 1937), he conveyed the heroism of the members of the Communist underground.
In Moscow, Bredel edited the German-language antifascist journal Das Wort. He returned to his native land in 1945. He published a historical trilogy about the German working class, Relatives and Acquaintances (1941-53; Russian translation, 1948-55); the book Ernst Thälmann (1948; Russian translation, 1952); a novella about the Spanish civil war, Encounter on the Ebro (1939; revised edition, 1948); and the historical stories and novellas Commissar on the Rhine (1939; Russian translation, 1939), The Vitali Brothers (1950), and For You, Liberty! (1959). Bredel twice received the National Prize. He was a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and was a deputy in the Chamber of the People of the German Democratic Republic.
WORKSGesammelte Werke in Einzelausgaben, vols. 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12. Berlin, 1962-68.
Verwandte und Bekannte, vols. 1-3. Berlin, 1961.
In Russian translation:
Ottsy. Moscow, 1961.
Synov’ia. Moscow, 1964.
Vnuki. Moscow, 1966.
Novaia glava. Moscow, 1968.
REFERENCESTokmakov, V. “Istoricheskaia trilogiia V. Bredelia Rodnye i znakomye. In the collection Literatura Germanskoi Demokraticheskoi Respubliki. Moscow, 1958.
“Sinn und Form.” Beitrage zur Literatur: Sonderheft Willi Bredel. Berlin, 1965.
Bock, L. Willi Bredel: Leben und Werk, 2nd ed. Berlin, 1967.
V. I. STEZHENSKII