Born Oct. 27, 1889, in Lissa, presentday Leszno, Poland; died Dec. 19, 1953, in Berlin. German writer (German Democratic Republic).
Leonhard was the son of a lawyer. In 1913 he published a book of expressionist verse, Barbed Lines. His play Vestibule of Hell (1919) and his Sonnets About the Spartacists (1921) testified to his sympathy for the socialist movement. In 1918 and 1919 he took part in the revolutionary outbreaks in Berlin.
Leonhard’s drama A Sail on the Horizon (1925) is the first German play on Soviet themes. Leonhard emigrated to Paris in 1927. He was one of the founders of the antifascist Alliance in Defense of the Rights of the Exiled Writers of Germany. During the fascist occupation, he took part in the struggle of the French antifascist underground, to which his tragedy Hostages (1945; published 1946) is devoted. In 1944 he illegally published a book of poems addressed to the German soldiers: Germany Must Live! (under the pseudonym Robert Lanzer). Returning to the GDR in 1950 after a serious illness, Leonhard joined the governing body of the Writers’ Union and published a book of articles and poems entitled Our Republic (1951).
WORKSAusgewählte Werke in Einzelausgaben, vol. 1. Berlin, 1961.
In Russian translation:
Selections in Nemetskaia demokraticheskaia poeziia. Moscow, 1955. Pages 96–97, 355–59, 576–78.
REFERENCEScheer, M. Freundeüber R. Leonhard. [Berlin, 1958.]
S. V. ROZHNOVSKII