Oskar Maria Graf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Oskar Maria Graf

Oskar Maria Graf (22 July 1894 – 28 June 1967) was a German author.

He wrote several socialist-anarchist novels and narratives about life in Bavaria, mostly autobiographical.

In the beginning Graf wrote under his real name Oskar Graf. After 1918, he edited his works for newspapers under the pseudonym, Oskar Graf-Berg; for the works he regarded as "worth being read", he selected the name Oskar Maria Graf.


Graf was born in Berg, Kingdom of Bavaria, as the ninth child of master baker Max Graf and his wife Therese (née Heimrath), a farmer's daughter. Beginning in 1900, he went to the public school in Aufkirchen – part of the community of Berg – located in the picturesque landscape around Lake Starnberg near Munich. After his father died in 1906, he learned the profession of baker and worked for his brother Max, who had taken over their father's bakery.

In 1911, hoping for an existence as a poet, he fled to Munich to escape his brother's maltreatment of him. He joined Bohemian circles and survived with little jobs such as post office helper or lift boy. In 1912 and 1913, he traveled as a vagabond in Ticino and in northern Italy.

On 1 December 1914, he was drafted for military service. A year later, in 1915, the magazine Die Freie Straße (in English: "Free road" or "Free street") published one of his tales for the first time. In 1916, Graf was nearly sentenced to jail for refusing a command. However, after 10 days of a hunger strike, he was taken to a psychiatric hospital and dismissed from the military.

On 26 May 1917, he married Karoline Bretting. One year later, their daughter Annemarie, called Annamirl, (13 June 1918 – 2008) was born. In the beginning of the same year, Oskar Maria Graf was arrested for participating in an ammunition worker's strike. He also met the woman who later became his second wife, Mirjam Sachs, sister of Manfred George and cousin of Nelly Sachs.[1] In 1919, Graf was arrested again for participating in revolutionary movements in Munich—compare with Bavarian Soviet Republic.

In 1920, he was active as a dramaturg at the working class theater Die neue Bühne ("The New Stage"), until in 1927, he realized a literary breakthrough with his autobiographical oeuvre Wir sind Gefangene ("We are prisoners"), which allowed him to live as a freelance author.

On 17 February 1933, he traveled to Vienna to lecture, a trip which began his voluntary exile. Graf's books were not destroyed during the Nazi book burning then taking place, rather were recommended reading. As a result, on 12 May 1933, he published in the Vienna Arbeiterzeitung ("Worker's Newspaper") his famous anti-Nazi appeal, Verbrennt mich! ("Burn me!").[1] He felt abused by Nazis because of misunderstood völkisch content.

A year later, in 1934, his books were prohibited in Germany. On 16 February, he emigrated to Brno in Czechoslovakia. On 24 March, Graf was expatriated by the Third Reich. He left Brno to take part in the First Congress of Socialist Writers in Moscow.

In 1938, he left Europe without his wife and child via the Netherlands, arriving in the United States, where he settled in New York City in July. Mirjam Sachs followed him, but his wife and child remained in Germany.[1] In October 1938, he was appointed president of the German American Writers Association. In 1942, he founded with Wieland Herzfelde and other emigrated German writers a publishing house (Aurora-Verlag, New-York, succeeding Malik-Verlag. His first wife agreed to a divorce in 1944, allowing Graf and Sachs to get married.[1]

In 1958, Graf received his United States citizenship and he set out on a journey to Europe for the first time after World War II.

In 1960, "in recognition of his uncompromising spiritual attitude," he was awarded the honorary degree of doctor by Wayne State University in Detroit. In 1962, he was awarded the Honorary Prize of Munich "in appreciation of his important literary works".

Graf died in 1967 in New York. A year after his death, his urn was buried in the cemetery "Alter Bogenhausener Friedhof" in Munich.

In 1976, he published a fairy tale, which is part of the children's book Update on Rumpelstiltskin and other Fairy Tales by 43 Authors, which is compiled by Hans-Joachim Gelberg, illustrated by Willi Glasauer, and published by Beltz & Gelberg.


German Publications

  • Die Revolutionäre (1918), Gedichte
  • Amen und Anfang (1919), Gedichte
  • Frühzeit (1922), Jugenderlebnisse
  • Ua-Pua (1921), Indianerdichtungen
  • Zur freundlichen Erinnerung (1922), soziale Novellen
  • Bayrisches Lesebücherl (1924), Kulturbilder
  • Die Traumdeuter (1924), Erzählungen
  • Die Chronik von Flechting (1925), Roman
  • Finsternis (1926), sechs Dorfgeschichten
  • Wunderbare Menschen (1927), Chronik und Autobiographie
  • Wir sind Gefangene (1927), Autobiographisches ISBN 3-423-01612-4
  • Licht und Schatten (1927), soziale Märchen
  • Bayrisches Dekameron (1928), Erzählungen ISBN 3-548-60345-9
  • Die Heimsuchung (1925), Roman
  • Im Winkel des Lebens (1927), Erzählungen
  • Kalendergeschichten (1929) Geschichten aus Stadt und Land ISBN 3-423-11434-7
  • Notizbuch des Provinzschriftstellers Oskar Maria Graf (1932), Satire ISBN 3-935877-49-8
  • Bolwieser (1931), Roman; Neuausgabe 1964 unter dem Titel Die Ehe des Herrn Bolwieser ISBN 3-442-72253-5
  • Einer gegen alle (1932), Roman
  • Dorfbanditen (1932), Jugenderinnerungen
  • Der harte Handel (1935), Bauernroman ISBN 3-423-11480-0
  • Der Abgrund (1936), Roman (überarbeiteten Fassung "Die gezählten Jahre"(1976)
  • Anton Sittinger (originally Sittinger bleibt obenauf) (1937), Roman ISBN 3-423-12453-9
  • Der Quasterl (1938), Dorf- und Jugendgeschichten
  • Das Leben meiner Mutter (1940 in englischer Sprache, 1946 in deutscher Fassung) ISBN 3-423-10044-3
  • Unruhe um einen Friedfertigen (1947), Roman, New York, Aurora-Verlag ISBN 3-471-77264-2
  • Mitmenschen (1948), Erzählungen
  • Die Eroberung der Welt (1949), Roman; Neuauflage 1959 unter dem Titel Die Erben des Untergangs ISBN 3-423-11880-6
  • Menschen aus meiner Jugend auf dem Dorfe (1953), Erzählungen
  • Der ewige Kalender (1954), Gedichte
  • Die Flucht ins Mittelmäßige (1959), Roman
  • An manchen Tagen. Reden, Gedanken und Zeitbetrachtungen (1961)
  • Der große Bauernspiegel (1962), Erzählungen
  • Größtenteils schimpflich (1962), Jugenderinnerungen
  • Altmodische Gedichte eines Dutzendmenschen (1962)
  • Er nannte sich Banscho (1964), Roman
  • Gelächter von außen. Aus meinem Leben 1918–1933 (1966)
  • Reise in die Sowjetunion 1934 (1974)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Oskar Maria Graf, biographical sketch M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, State University of New York, Albany. Retrieved 28 September 2011

External links[edit]