Detail of book cover Germany: Jekyll & Hyde
27 December 1907|
Berlin, German Empire
|Died||2 January 1999
|Pen name||Sebastian Haffner|
|Occupation||Journalist and historian|
|Subject||Prussia, Otto von Bismarck, World War I, Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, World War II|
|Notable works||The Meaning of Hitler|
Raimund Pretzel (27 December 1907 – 2 January 1999), better known by his pseudonym Sebastian Haffner, was a German journalist and author. He wrote mainly about recent German history. His focus was specifically on the history of the German Reich (1871–1945); his books dealt with the origins and course of the First World War, the failure of the Weimar Republic, and the subsequent rise and fall of Nazi Germany under Hitler.
In 1938 he emigrated from Nazi Germany with his Jewish fiancée to London, where he intended to work as an author and journalist. The first time there was very difficult because he was hardly able to speak English at that time (but rapidly became remarkably proficient in the language), had no money and no financial support at all, and his fiancée and later wife was pregnant. He adopted the pseudonym Sebastian Haffner so that his family, who remained in Germany, would not be endangered by his writing. It was a combination of Johann Sebastian Bach and of Mozart's Haffner Symphony, later he used the signature of this piece (KV 385) on his vehicle registration plate.
Under the auspices of his mentor, David Astor, Haffner wrote for the London Sunday newspaper, The Observer, and became its editor-in-chief. However, because of differences between Astor, who had become the newspaper's publisher, and the London editorship regarding a divided Germany, he became the German correspondent in Berlin in 1954, a position which he kept until the building of the Berlin Wall.
He then wrote for a German newspaper, Die Welt, until 1962, and from then until 1975 was a columnist for the Stern magazine. Haffner was a frequent guest on the television show Internationaler Frühschoppen (translates roughly to "international morning pint"), hosted by Werner Höfer, and even had his own television program on the German channel Sender Freies Berlin.
Haffner is considered as one of the most successful German authors on the history of the 19th and 20th century written for a broad, nonacademic audience.
He wrote most of his works in German, some of which have been translated into English, French, Spanish, Hebrew and other languages. The manuscript of Defying Hitler, discovered posthumously by his son, Oliver Pretzel, is an insightful memoir of the Nazis' rise to power, as witnessed by Haffner before he went into exile.
- 1940 Germany: Jekyll & Hyde, (German language) ISBN 3-930278-04-9
- 1941 Offensive Against Germany – Searchlight Books
- 1964 Die sieben Todsünden des deutschen Reiches im Ersten Weltkrieg
- 1967 Winston Churchill, Biography (German language) ISBN 3-463-40413-3
- 1968 Die verratene Revolution – Deutschland 1918/19. (about the German Revolution in November 1918) Stern-Buch, Hamburg 1969, (no ISBN)
- 2nd edition: Die deutsche Revolution 1918/1919 – wie war es wirklich? Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Geschichte. München, Kindler Verlag 1979, ISBN 3-463-00738-X
- 3rd edition: 1918/1919 – eine deutsche Revolution. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1981, ISBN 3-499-17455-3
- 4th edition: 1918/1919 – eine deutsche Revolution. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1986, ISBN 3-499-17455-3
- 5th edition: 1918/1919 – eine deutsche Revolution. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1988, ISBN 3-499-17455-3
- 6th edition: Der Verrat. Deutschland 1918/19. Berlin, Verlag 1900, 1993, ISBN 3-930278-00-6
- 7th edition: Der Verrat. 1918/1919 – als Deutschland wurde, wie es ist. Berlin, Verlag 1900, 1994, ISBN 3-930278-00-6
- 8th edition: Der Verrat. 1918/1919 – als Deutschland wurde, wie es ist. Berlin, Verlag 1900, 1995, ISBN 3-930278-00-6
- 9th edition: Der Verrat. Berlin, Verlag 1900, 2000, ISBN 3-930278-00-6
- 10th edition: Der Verrat. Deutschland 1918/1919. Berlin, Verlag 1900, 2002, ISBN 3-930278-00-6
- 11th edition: Die deutsche Revolution – 1918/19. Kindler, 2002, ISBN 3-463-40423-0
- 12th edition: Die deutsche Revolution – 1918/19. rororo Taschenbücher, 2004, ISBN 3-499-61622-X
- 13th edition: Die deutsche Revolution – 1918/19. Anaconda Verlag, 2008, ISBN 3-86647-268-4
- 1978 The Meaning of Hitler ISBN 0-674-55775-1, translated from Anmerkungen zu Hitler, Publishing house. Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main. ISBN 3-596-23489-1.
- 1979 Preußen ohne Legende
- 1980 Überlegungen eines Wechselwählers, Publishing house. Kindler GmbH, München. ISBN 3-463-00780-0
- 1985 Im Schatten der Geschichte: Historisch-politische Variationen,. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart. ISBN 3-421-06253-6
- 1987 Von Bismarck zu Hitler: Ein Rückblick, Publishing house Kindler GmbH, München. ISBN 3-463-40003-0
- 1989 The Ailing Empire, English translation of Von Bismarck zu Hitler. Fromm International Publishing, New York. ISBN 0-88064-136-3
- 1989 Der Teufelspakt: Die deutsch-russischen Beziehungen vom Ersten zum Zweiten Weltkrieg,.Publishing house Manesse, Zürich. ISBN 3-7175-8121-X
- 1997 Zwischen den Kriegen. Essays zur Zeitgeschichte, ISBN 3-930278-05-7
- 2000 Defying Hitler: A Memoir ISBN 0-312-42113-3, translated from Geschichte eines Deutschen. Die Erinnerungen 1914–1933. (Written in approximately 1940, was published after he died) ISBN 3-423-30848-6 Book review by Charles Taylor in the webmagazine www.Salon.com
- 2000 Der Neue Krieg, (contains an email from Juergen Kuttner), Publishing house Alexander, Berlin. ISBN 3-89581-049-5
- 2002 Die Deutsche Frage: 1950 – 1961: Von der Wiederbewaffnung bis zum Mauerbau, Publishing house Fischer Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main. ISBN 3-596-15536-3
- Soukup, Uwe (2001). Ich bin nun mal Deutscher. Sebastian Haffner. Eine Biographie. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag. ISBN 3-351-02526-2.
Sebastian Haffner (27th of December, 1907// 2nd of January, 1999) is the pseudonym that begins to use Raimund Pretzel when he emigrate to England with his Jewish girlfriend. His family was protestantey, a decided opponent of the nazi regime (which is why that traveled to England with his girlfriend) He began to use the pseudonym Sebastian Haffner so that his family in Germany was not affected by their activities abroad. He was one of the most prominent writers on the German history of the 19th and 20th centuries.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sebastian Haffner.|
- "Stern words from Berlin" published in The Guardian days after Haffner's death, retelling his life (14 January 1999)