Prior to WWII, the novels of German writer Hans Fallada (the pen name Rudolf Ditzen) were international bestsellers, on a par with those of his countrymen Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. In America, Hollywood even turned his first big novel, Little Man, What Now? into a major motion picture. Once it became known that the movie had been made by a Jewish producer, however, steps were taken to prevent Falladas work being sold outside Germany, and the rising Nazis began to pay him closer attention. When he refused to join the Nazi party he was arrested by the Gestapowho eventually released him, but thereafter regularly summoned him for "discussions" of his work.
Crucially, unlike Mann, Hesse, and others, Fallada refused to flee to safety, even when his British publisher, George Putnam, sent a private boat to rescue him. The pressure took its toll on Fallada, and he resorted increasingly to drugs and alcohol for relief. After Goebbels ordered him to write an anti-Semitic novel he snapped and found himself imprisoned in an asylum for the "criminally insane"considered a death sentence under Nazi rule. To forestall the inevitable, he pretended to write the assignment for Goebbels, while actually composing three encrypted booksincluding his tour de force novel The Drinkerin such dense code that they were not deciphered until long after his death.
Fallada outlasted the Reich and was freed at war's end. But he was a shattered man. To help him recover by putting him to work, his friend Johannes Bechela poet who had became a cultural minister in the post-war governmentgave him the Gestapo file of a simple, working-class couple that had resisted the Nazis. Inspired, Fallada completed Every Man Dies Alone in just twenty-four days.
He died in February 1947, just weeks before the book's publication.
This biography was last updated on 04/10/2010.
A note about the biographies
We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate. However, with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, please send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.
50 Copies to Give Away!
The 100 Year Miracle is a rich, enthralling novel, full of great characters.
Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.