Marieluise Fleißer

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German stamp issued in 2001 in the Women in German history series

Marieluise Fleißer (German pronunciation: [maˌʁiːluˈiːzə ˈflaɪsɐ]; 23 November 1901, Ingolstadt – 2 February 1974, Ingolstadt) was a German author and playwright.

Her best-known works are two plays, Purgatory in Ingolstadt (1924) and Pioneers in Ingolstadt (1926). Bertolt Brecht persuaded the director Moriz Seeler to stage the first play, which Seeler retitled; Fleißer's original title was The Washing of Feet. Brecht then encouraged her to write Pioneers. Premiered in Berlin, the plays caused a scandal, especially in her home town, and were attacked by the Nazis, who had not yet come to power.

Fleißer was rediscovered in the 1970s by a later generation, among them the theatre director Peter Stein and the playwright Franz Xaver Kroetz. Pioneers in Ingolstadt was adapted as a TV film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1971.

The plays were given their London premieres at the Gate Theatre, London, in 1990, directed by Annie Castledine and Stephen Daldry.


  • Gérard Thiériot, "Marieluise Fleisser (1901–1974) et le théâtre populaire critique en Allemagne", Berne et al., Editions Peter Lang, Collection Contacts, Theatrica 19, 1999

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