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Author photo. Courtesy of the Dutch National Archives

Courtesy of the Dutch National Archives

Stefan Heym (1913–2001)

Author of The Wandering Jew

Includes the names: Stefan Heim, Heym Stefan

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991 (1,095)1624,339 (3.89)2
Stefan Heym is representative of many intellectuals in the former East Germany who found themselves torn between loyalty to the ideals of their state and disdain for the reality. He was born into a secular Jewish family in Chemnitz. As a young man, he went to the United States to escape Hitler, where he worked for a while as a journalist. In 1943 he joined the American army. His first novel, The Crusaders (1948), became a best-seller. It was loosely based on his wartime experiences and filled with contempt not only for the Nazi government, but for virtually all of German culture. Distressed by the rise of McCarthyism in the United States and by Western tolerance of former Nazi officials, Heym emigrated to East Germany in 1953 and gave his enthusiastic support to the Socialist aspirations of his new homeland. His disillusionment with East Germany was far more gradual and, by his own account, more difficult than that experienced in the United States. In 1976 Heym protested the forced emigration of singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann from the German Democratic Republic. Two years later he was fined and expelled from the East German Writers' Union for accepting royalties for work published abroad. Though Heym continued to believe that the GDR was the "better-half" of Germany, disillusion with the reality of socialism moved him to turn to his Jewish heritage for inspiration in novels such as The King David Report (1972) and The Wandering Jew (1984). In 1992 he became a founding member of the "Committee for Justice," a lobby representing the interests of former East Germans in a newly united Germany. (Bowker Author Biography) — biography from The Wandering Jew… (more)
The Wandering Jew 208 copies, 2 reviews
The King David Report (Author) 179 copies, 2 reviews
5 Days in June 93 copies, 3 reviews
The Architects 57 copies, 3 reviews
The Crusaders (Author) 55 copies, 1 review
Nachruf 40 copies
Schwarzenberg 39 copies
Collin 34 copies
Hostages (Author) 30 copies
Radek 19 copies
The Lenz Papers (Author) 17 copies
The Eyes of Reason (Author) 16 copies
Lassalle 15 copies
Goldsborough 13 copies
Pargfrider 9 copies
Einmischung 4 copies
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Short biography
Stefan Heym was the pen name of Helmut Flieg, born to a Jewish merchant family in Chemnitz, Germany. He completed secondary school in Berlin, but fled Germany after the Reichstag fire in February 1933, shortly after the Nazi regime came to power. He emigrated to the USA and served in the special German-speaking unit of U.S. Military Intelligence in World War II known as the Ritchie Boys. He earned a degree at the University of Chicago and became a journalist for German-language newspapers, on staff and as a freelancer. In 1952, he moved back to the part of his native country which was then the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or East Germany. He published works in English and German at home and abroad, and despite longstanding criticism of the GDR, remained a committed socialist.
Disambiguation notice

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Stefan Heym's book The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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