Walter Kempowski  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Walter Kempowski (April 29, 1929 – October 5, 2007) was a German writer. Kempowski was chiefly 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 a small village near Hamburg.

In 2005 he finished his enormous oeuvre Echolot, a collection and collage of documents by people of any kind living in the circumstances of war. Echolot consists of thousands of personal documents, letters, newspaper reports, and unpublished autobiographies that had been collected by the author over a period of more than twenty years.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.

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

List of works

  • Im Block. Ein Haftbericht. Reinbek 1969.
  • Tadellöser & Wolff. Ein bürgerlicher Roman. München 1971.
  • Uns gehts ja noch gold. Roman einer Familie. München 1972.
  • Haben Sie Hitler gesehen? Deutsche Antworten. München 1973
  • Der Hahn im Nacken. Mini-Geschichten. Reinbek 1973.
  • Immer so durchgemogelt. Erinnerungen an unsere Schulzeit. München 1974.
  • Ein Kapitel für sich. München 1975.
  • Alle unter einem Hut. Über 170 witzige und amüsante Alltagsminiminigeschichten. Bayreuth 1976.
  • Wer will unter die Soldaten? München 1976.
  • Aus großer Zeit. Hamburg 1978.
  • Haben Sie davon gewußt? Deutsche Antworten. Hamburg 1979.
  • Unser Böckelmann. Hamburg 1979
  • Kempowskis einfache Fibel. Braunschweig 1980.
  • Schöne Aussicht. Hamburg 1981.
  • Beethovens Fünfte. Moin Vaddr läbt. Radio plays. Hamburg 1982.
  • Herrn Böckelmanns schönste Tafelgeschichten nach dem ABC geordnet. Hamburg 1983.
  • Herzlich willkommen. München 1984.
  • Haumiblau. 208 Pfenniggeschichten für Kinder. München 1986.
  • Hundstage. München 1988.
  • Sirius. Eine Art Tagebuch. München 1990
  • Mark und Bein. Eine Episode. München 199l.
  • Das Echolot. Ein kollektives Tagebuch Januar und Februar 1943. 4 vols. München 1993.
  • Der arme König von Opplawur. Ein Märchen. München 1994.
  • Der Krieg geht zu Ende. Chronik für Stimmen - Januar bis Mai 1945. Radio play. Stuttgart 1995.
  • Weltschmerz. Kinderszenen fast zu ernst. München 1995.
  • Bloomsday '97. München 1997.
  • Heile Welt. München 1998.
  • Die deutsche Chronik. 9 vols. München 1999.
  • Das Echolot. Fuga furiosa. Ein kollektives Tagebuch Winter 1945. 4 vols. München 1999.
  • Walter Kempowski liest »Tadellöser & Wolff«. Audio book. Georgsmarienhütte 2001.
  • Alkor. Tagebuch 1989. München 2001.
  • Der rote Hahn. Dresden 1945. München 2001.
  • Das Echolot. Barbarossa '41. Ein kollektives Tagebuch. München 2002.
  • Walter Kempowski liest »Aus großer Zeit«. Audio book. Georgsmarienhütte 2003.
  • Letzte Grüße. München 2003.
  • Das 1. Album. 1981-1986. Frankfurt a.M. 2004.
  • Walter Kempowski liest »Schöne Aussicht«. Audio book. Georgsmarienhütte 2004.
  • Das Echolot. Abgesang 45. Ein kollektives Tagebuch. München 2005
  • Culpa. Notizen zum Echolot. München 2005.
  • Hamit. Tagebuch 1990. München 2006.
  • Alles umsonst. München 2006.
  • Walter Kempowski/Uwe Johnson: Der Briefwechsel. Berlin 2006.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Walter Kempowski" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools