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Biography of Erich Kästner

               

Dresden

 

 

 

 

1899

Born on February 23,1899 to Ida and Emil Kästner

 

 

1906-1913

Attended primary school at the 4th Primary School

(4. Bürgerschule)

 

 

1913-1917

Attended Freiherrn von Fletscher Teachers’ Seminary

 

 

1917-1918

Conscripted into and served in the military

 

 

1918

Attended final course at the Teachers’ Seminary

 

 

1919

Attended the King George’s Secondary School

(König-Georg-Gymnasium) as guest pupil

First publication of the poem "Die Jugend schreit!" in the student newspaper, “Die Schulgemeinde des König Georg-Gymnasiums zu Dresden”

Completed secondary school exit examinations

Received the Golden Scholarship of the City of Dresden

 

               

 

 

Leipzig

 

 

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1920

Began studies of German language and literature, history, philosophy and history of the theatre; first important publication in “Leipzig Student Compositions” (“Dichtungen Leipziger Studenten”)

 

 

1921

Exchange semesters in Rostock and Berlin

First publications in newspapers

 

 

1922

Employed at the Institute of Journalism; contributions to the “New Leipzig Newspaper” ("Neuen Leipziger Zeitung")

Publication of three poems in “Leipzig Student Compositions at Christmas Time“ ("Dichtungen Leipziger Studenten zur Weihnachtszeit")

 

 

1925

Received his doctorate with the dissertation on “Frederick the Great and German Literature”

Continued working as an editor and journalist, also worked for "Beyers für Alle"

 

 

1927

Wrote "Abendlied des Kammervirtuosen" – reason for dismissal at the "Neuen Leipziger Zeitung"

Dismissed by the editor-in-chief of the "Neuen Leipziger Zeitung"

Continued working under a pseudonym in Leipzig

Relocation to Berlin

 

 

 

 

Berlin

 

 

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1927

Worked as drama critic and freelance writer for „Weltbühne", "Montag Morgen" and "Vossische Zeitung", among others

 

 

1928

First trip to Paris with Erich Ohser

First independent publication: "Herz auf Taille" – poems

Acquaintance with Walter Trier

 

 

1929

"Emil und die Detektive"- novel for children

"Lärm im Spiegel"-poems

Acquaintance with Hermann Kesten

 

 

1930

"Ein Mann gibt Auskunft" – poems

"Leben in dieser Zeit" – drama for radio and stage written with Edmund Nick

 

 

1931

"Fabian. Die Geschichte eines Moralisten" – novel

"Pünktchen und Anton" – novel for children

"Dann schon lieber Lebertran" – short film

"Der 35. Mai" – novel for children

Elected as member of the PEN-Club

 

 

1932

"Gesang zwischen den Stühlen" - poems

Theatre version of “Pünktchen and Anton” written by Max Reinhardt

“Arthur mit dem langen Arm” and “Das verhexte Telefon” – stories for children with illustrations from Walter Trier

 

 

1933

"Das fliegende Klassenzimmer" – novel for children

Kästner’s books burned by the Nazis

Received publication ban in Germany

Arrested by the Gestapo for the first time

 

 

1934

"Drei Männer im Schnee" - novel

 

 

1935

"Emil und die drei Zwillinge" – novel for children

"Die verschwundene Miniatur" – novel

 

 

1936

"Dr. Erich Kästners Lyrische Hausapotheke" – poems

"Der Zauberlehrling" – novel fragment

Trips to Reichenhall, Salzburg und Davos

 

1937

Second arrest by the Gestapo

Travelled to Salzburg to work with Walter Trier

 

 

1938

"Georg und die Zwischenfälle" (later: "Der kleine Grenzverkehr") - novel

“Till Eulenspiegel” – renarration

Trip to London with hasty return due to impending war

 

 

1939

"Der Doppelgänger" – novel fragment, never completed

 

 

1940

“Chavelin oder lang lebe der König!” – one act play

“Das Haus der Erinnerung” – comedy

Premier of „Das lebenslängliche Kind“, written under the pseudonym Robert Neuner as an adaptation of “Drei Männer im Schnee”

 

 

1942

Wrote screenplay for “Münchhausen” under the pseudonym Bertold Bürger

 

 

1943       

Final writing and publication ban in Germany and abroad

 

 

1945

Film expedition to Mayrhofen, Tirol and Schillersee

Permanent relocation to Munich

 

 

 

 

Munich

 

 

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1945

Formation of the cabaret "Die Schaubude"

Became editor-in-chief of the feature pages of the "Neue Zeitung"

 

 

1946

"Bei Durchsicht meiner Bücher" – collection of poems

Returned to Dresden to visit his parents

Became editor of the children’s magazine “Pinguin. Für junge Leute”

Observer at the Nuremberg trials

 

 

1947

First trip abroad after WWII to the International PEN Congress

 

 

1948

Left his post at the “Neue Zeitung”

"Der tägliche Kram" - Chansons 1945 through `48

"Zu treuen Händen" – comedy, published using the pseudonym Melchior Kurtz

“Kurz und bündig" – epigrams

 

 

1949

"Die Konferenz der Tiere" – children’s book 

"Das doppelte Lottchen" – novel for children

 

 

1950

"Der gestiefelte Kater" - renarration

Screenplay and film of “Doppeltes Lottchen”, directed by Josef von Baky, received German Film Prize (Bundesfilmpreis)

 

 

1951

President of the West German PEN Center

Formation of the cabaret "Die kleine Freiheit"

„Münchhausen“ –renarration appears in book form

Kästner’s mother, Ida, dies in Dresden

 

 

1952

"Die kleine Freiheit" - Chansons and Prose 1949 through `52

“Das doppelte Lottchen” film appears in English and Japanese

 

 

1954

"Die Schildbürger" - renarration

Wrote screenplay for “Das fliegende Klassenzimmer”, directed by Kurt Hoffmann

 

 

1955

"Die dreizehn Monate" –poems

 

 

1956

"Don Quichotte" - renarration

"Die Schule der Diktatoren" – satire

Received the Literature Prize from the city of Munich

 

 

1957

Premiere of “Schule der Diktatoren” film, directed by Hans Schweikart in the Kammerspielen (theatre) Munich

"Als ich ein kleiner Junge war" – autobiographical novel

Received the Georg Büchner Prize

Birth of son Thomas on December 15th

Kästner’s father, Emil, dies on December 31st

 

 

1958

Gave a speech at the PEN Congress in Hamburg commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Nazi book burning

Premiere of film “Haus der Erinnerung”, directed by Hans Schweikart, at the Kammerspielen (theatre) in Munich

 

 

1959

Awarded the Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz)

 

 

1960

Awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in Luxemburg by the Board of Trustees of Literature for Youth (Kuratorium für das Jugendbuch)

 

 

1961

"Notabene 45" – diary from 1945

"Gullivers Reise" - renarration for children

 

 

1962

"Das Schwein beim Friseur" – novel for children

Elected as honorary president of PEN

Checked into the Agra Sanitorium in Tessin, Switzerland

Wrote screenplay for “Liebe will gelernt sein” based on the comedy “Zu treuen Händen”

 

 

1963

"Der kleine Mann" – novel for children

Returned to Munich in May

 

 

1964

Kästner exhibit at the International Library for Youth Literature (Internationale Bibliothek für Jugendliteratur) in Munich in cooperation with the Goethe Institut

 

 

1965

Readings at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität in Frankfurt am Main and the Schumann-Saal in Düsseldorf

 

 

1966

January – traveled to Copenhagen to visit a Kästner exhibit

October – traveled to London to visit a Kästner exhibit and gave a reading at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Received first prize in the Golden Hedgehog (Goldener Igel) International Humor Competition sponsored by the Bulgarian youth magazine “Narodna Mladesch” (“Young People”)

 

 

1967

February – reading in the Dresdner Zwinger

August – reading at the International Conference for German Teachers in Munich

September – traveled to The Haag for the opening of a Kästner exhibit and gave readings at the exhibit as well as the German consulate in Amsterdam

Last publication: "Der kleine Mann und die kleine Miss" – novel for children

 

 

1968

Received the Literature Prize from the German Freemasons in Kassel

 

 

1969

Member of the Wilhelm-Busch-Society

 

 

1970

Received the Honorary Golden Coin from the city of Munich

 

 

1974

Died on July 29, 1974 in Munich

 

 

Prizes and Awards:

Bundesfilmpreis für "Das doppelte Lottchen" (1950)

Literaturpreis der Stadt München (1956)

Georg - Büchner - Preis (1957)

Hans - Christian - Andersen - Medaille des Internationalen Kuratoriums für das Jugendbuch (1960)

Erster Preis ("Goldener Igel") im internationalen Humoristenwettbewerb der bulgarischen Jugendzeitung "Narodna Mladesch", Sofia (1966)

Literaturpreis der Deutschen Freimaurer, Überreichung des Lessing - Rings (1968)

Kultureller Ehrenpreis der Landeshauptstadt München (1970)

Goldene Ehrenmünze der Landeshauptstadt München (1974)

                 

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