Leonie Ossowski

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Leonie Ossowski
Ossowski in 2007
Ossowski in 2007
BornJolanthe von Brandenstein
(1925-08-15)15 August 1925
Röhrsdorf, Posen-West Prussia, Weimar Germany
Died4 February 2019(2019-02-04) (aged 93)
Berlin, Germany
Genreshort story, novel, children's literature, screenplay
Notable awards

Jolanthe von Brandenstein[1] (15 August 1925 – 4 February 2019), known by her pen name Leonie Ossowski, was a German writer. She also wrote under the name Jo Tiedemann.[2] She wrote novels, including the novel for young adults Die große Flatter which was filmed as an award-winning TV play, screenplays such as for Zwei Mütter, stories and non-fiction books. Notable awards include the Hermann Kesten Medal of the Pen Centre and the Adolf-Grimme-Preis.


Ossowski was born Jolanthe von Brandenstein in Röhrsdorf (now Osowa Sień) in Posen-West Prussia, the daughter of Lothar von Brandenstein [de] (1893–1953), an estate owner, and writer Ruth von Ostau (1899–1966). Her elder sister was Yvonne [de] who became an actress. At the end of World War II, she fled to Bad Salzungen in Thuringia, then moved to Hesse. She finally settled in Upper Swabia.[3]

Ossowski worked at various jobs, including sales clerk, factory worker and photo lab assistant. Beginning in the 1950s, she also wrote short stories under her pen name. On a visit to the GDR in 1953, she received a commission from the state-owned film studio DEFA for a screenplay. She wrote the script for Zwei Mütter,[4] which was directed by Frank Beyer and premiered on 28 June 1957. A year later, she published the novel Stern ohne Himmel [de] (Star without Sky),[2][5] which was later made into a film.

Ossowski moved with her family to Mannheim in 1958. In 1968, she published a novel in West Germany for the first time. She also published stories (Erzählungen), non-fiction books, screen plays and stage plays.[6] She was a member of the PEN Centre Germany. In the 1970s, she was a social worker, caring for young people in prison and installing communal housing (Wohngemeinschaft [de]) for young people released from prison.[3]

She visited her birthplace in 1974, and wrote a trilogy of novels about the war and post-war periods there, showing empathy for the Polish view.[6] Her 1977 Die große Flatter (The Big Flutter), a novel for young adults, deals with two young homeless people in Mannhein. It was filmed as an award-winning three-part television play, with Richy Müller, presented in 1979.[5][6]

Ossowski lived in Berlin from 1980 until her death on 4 February 2019.[7] Among her seven children is the theologian Louis-Ferdinand von Zobeltitz [de].[3]


Ossowski was awarded the Hermann Kesten Medal of the PEN Centre in 2006.[6][8] In 2014, she received the Andreas Gryphius Prize.[9] She was awarded the Adolf-Grimme-Preis and the Schillerpreis der Stadt Mannheim [de].[7]


Ossowski's work often deals with people on the edge of society, and is entertaining but also educational. Her novel Stern ohne Himmel [de] is part of the school canon.[6]

Ossowki's works are held by the German National Library, including:[10]

Novels and stories[edit]

  • Stern ohne Himmel [de], 1958, novel, film [de] 1980
  • Wer fürchtet sich vorm schwarzen Mann?, novel, 1968
  • Mannheimer Erzählungen, 1974, story collection
  • Weichselkirschen, novel, 1976, part 1 of the Schlesien-Trilogie (Silesia trilogy)
  • Die große Flatter, novel, 1977, film [de] 1979)
  • Blumen für Magritte, stories, 1978
  • Liebe ist kein Argument, novel, 1981
  • Wilhelm Meisters Abschied [de], novel, 1982
  • Littel fasst einen Entschluss und andere Erzählungen, stories, 1983
  • Neben der Zärtlichkeit, novel, 1984
  • Wolfsbeeren, Roman, 1987, part 2 of the Schlesien-Trilogie
  • Das Zinnparadies, 1988
  • Weckels Angst, 1991
  • Holunderzeit, novel, Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 1991, part 3 of the Schlesien-Trilogie
  • Von Gewalt keine Rede. two stories, 1992
  • Die Maklerin, novel, 1994
  • Herrn Rudolfs Vermächtnis, novel, Hoffmann & Campe, Hamburg 1997, as Heyne Taschenbuch, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-453-13756-6.
  • Das Dienerzimmer, novel, 1999
  • Die schöne Gegenwart [de], novel, 2001
  • Espenlaub, novel, 2003
  • Der einarmige Engel, novel, 2004

Screen plays[edit]


  • Zur Bewährung ausgesetzt. Bericht über Versuche kollektiver Bewährungshilfe. Piper, Munich 1972
  • Der Löwe im Zinnparadies. Eine Wiederbegegnung. Piper, Munich 2003


  1. ^ "Schriftstellerin Leonie Ossowski gestorben". Ruhr Nachrichten (in German). 4 February 2019. Archived from the original on 6 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Leonie Ossowski" (in German). Munzinger. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Budeus-Budde, Roswitha (13 August 2005). "Flucht und Versöhnung. Die Jugendromanautorin Leonie Ossowski wird 90". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). p. 11.
  4. ^ Zwei Mütter auf defa-stiftung.de
  5. ^ a b Sandford, John (2013). Encyclopedia of Contemporary German Culture. p. 461. ISBN 978-1-136-81603-1.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Schriftstellerin Leonie Ossowski ist tot" (in German). Bayerischer Rundfunk. 5 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Leonie Ossowski" (in German). Piper. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Kesten-Medaille für Leonie Ossowski" (in German). Deutsche Welle. 2 October 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Andreas-Gryphius-Preis" (in German). Die Künstlergilde. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Works by Leonie Ossowski" (in German). German National Library. Retrieved 5 February 2019.

External links[edit]