Franz Fühmann

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fühmann, Franz


Born Jan. 15, 1922, in Rokytnice, Czechoslovakia. Writer of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Member of the National Democratic Party of Germany.

Fühmann was taken prisoner while serving in the Wehrmacht in World War II (1939–45). After his repatriation from the USSR in 1949 he became a journalist. His first literary works include the narrative poem The Road to Stalingrad (1953) and the poetry anthology The Carnation of Nikos (1953), which is dedicated to N. Belogiannis. In 1962, Fühmann published the poetry anthology The Direction of Fairy Tales. His novellas Regiment Comrades (1955; Russian translation, 1959) and Hard Times (1963; translated into Russian 1967 as Barlach in Güstrow) and the anthology of short stories The Jewish Automobile (1962; Russian translation, 1966) reveal the essential inhumanity of fascism. They are distinguished by profound psychological insight and subtle depiction of characters and conflicts.

Fühmann has written memoirs and a collection of short literary works entitled Twenty-two Days, or Half a Life (1973; Russian translation, 1976), as well as screenplays, fairy tales and books for children, and works of literary criticism, including the anthology Conclusions and Contradictions (1975). He has published a book on the artistic and literary legacy of E. Barlach and also translates poetry from Hungarian and Slavic languages, including Soviet Russian poetry.

Fühmann has been awarded the National Prize of the GDR (1957, 1974), the Heinrich Mann Prize (1956), and the Lion Feuchtwanger Prize (1972).


In Russian translation:
Sud bozhii. Moscow, 1966.
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1973.


L’vov, S. “Novye grani talanta.” Voprosy literatury, 1976, no. 9.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Robinson (German, Indiana U.-Bloomington) analyzes socialist culture from a number of perspectives, but most explicitly through the work of East German literary loner, Franz Fuhmann (1922-84), especially in contrast with his much better known friend and colleague Christa Wolf.
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Dennis Tate offers a masterly appraisal of new editions and of a biography of Franz Fuhmann, while Hamish Reid and Beth Alldred sympathetically analyse Christoph Hein's and Helga Konigsdorf 's most recent works.
Franz Fuhmann: Innovation and Authenticity: A Study of his Prose-Writing.