The writer Günter Kunert is dead. He died on Saturday at the age of 90 in his
Electorate Kaisborstel bei Itzehoe. This was confirmed by the widow and a close friend of the family German press agency,
Previously, the New Osnabrück newspaper reported about it. Kunert had been released from the hospital ten days ago. He wanted to die at home and was palliatively cared for until his death.
Kunert is an important contemporary German writer. His work is diverse: He wrote poems, short stories, short stories, essays, fairy tales, radio plays, screenplays, children's books and novels. His longtime publisher Michael Krüger described Kunert as “one of the most important poets of the postwar period” and a poet in the tradition of Heinrich Heine.
In March, Kunert celebrated his 90th birthday and his last book The second wife released. 45 years ago, he hid it in a box because he assumed it was too critical to be in the box GDR to be published. When cleaning up, he found it again and decided to publish the book. He dedicated it to his second wife Erika
The life of Kunert reflects the German history of the 20th century: Born in Berlin, he was the son of a Jewish mother and was not allowed to attend high school during the Nazi dictatorship. In one of his school reports is under the heading Creed “Dissident”. He was called a “half-Jew” and witnessed close relatives being deported and murdered by the Nazis.
After the war, Kunert joined the SED in 1949 and was supported by, among others, Bertolt Brecht. Kunert criticized the GDR regime and in 1976 was among the first signatories of the petition against the expatriation of his friend Wolf Biermann. A year later, he was deprived of SED membership, in 1979 he traveled with his first wife Marianne and seven cats to West Germany. His Stasi files include more than a meter of folders.
In Schleswig-Holstein The couple found a new home: They moved to Kaisborstel near Itzehoe, where Kunert worked for 40 years as a writer and lyricist. His view of the world was sober and at times disillusioned. The depletion of the earth, climate change and overpopulation took away his hope. Humanity is heading for an endpoint, Kunert said in an interview on his 90th birthday in the spring. He is not a pessimist, but a realist.
At age ten, Kunert discovered Heinrich Heine
As a ten-year-old, Kunert received a Heine edition from his mother. She repeatedly brought him books, mostly works that were banned during the Nazi era. “As a child, I found another home thanks to my mother, in literature,” Kunert later said.
Kunert was in the US five times, visited Australia and New Zealand, and crossed Morocco by car. As his literary “founding fathers” who influenced him, Kunert named the two American poets Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950) and Carl August Sandburg (1878-1967). Besides Heine and Tucholsky, Franz Kafka and Marcel Proust also impressed him.
For Kunert, writing was a kind of therapy, an attempt to cope with the world. “I never wrote for readers,” he said in his old age. Existence as an author is “not a particularly happy life because you are actually lost to other people.” As a writer, you become “unbearable for others”.
Kunert bought a grave at the Jewish Cemetery Berlin-Weißensee many years before his death. There he wants to be buried next to his first wife Marianne. Kunert was not religious and did not believe in rebirth: “I grew up among left-wing people and emancipated Jews, none of whom was religious.”
(t) Writer (t) Günter Kunert (t) Writer (t) Literature (t) Poetry (t) Itzehoe (t) Michael Krüger (t) Schleswig-Holstein (t) GDR