Walter Jens

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Walter Jens
Jens addressing the Academy of Arts, Berlin (2005)
Born(1923-03-08)8 March 1923
Hamburg, Germany
Died9 June 2013(2013-06-09) (aged 90)
Occupation(s)Professor, philologist, writer

Walter Jens (8 March 1923 – 9 June 2013) was a German philologist, literature historian, critic, university professor and writer.[1]

He was born in Hamburg, and attended the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums from 1933 to 1941, when he gained his Abitur,[2] before studying at the University of Hamburg.[3]

In the early 1940s, Jens joined the NSDAP.[4][5] He denied having applied for membership actively and claimed that he had become a member automatically because he was a member of the Hitler Youth and that he never received a membership card.

During World War II, he earned a doctorate in Freiburg with a work about Sophocles' tragedy and habilitated at age 26 with the work Tacitus und die Freiheit (Tacitus and Freedom) at the University of Tübingen.[6]

From 1950 onward, he was a member of the Group 47.[7] That year, he had his breakthrough with the novel Nein. Die Welt der Angeklagten.[8][9]

From 1965 to 1988, Jens held the chair for General Rhetoric at the University of Tübingen,[10] which was created in order to keep him at the university. Under the pseudonym Momos, he wrote television reviews for Die Zeit.[11] From 1976 to 1982, he was president of the International PEN center in Germany.[10] From 1989 to 1997, he was president of the Academy of Arts, Berlin, and afterwards he was the honorary president.[12] From 1990 to 1995, he was chairman of the Martin-Niemöller-Foundation.[13]

Personal life[edit]

In 1951, Jens married Inge Puttfarcken.[14][10] They had two sons, Tillmann und Christoph.[14] Jens suffered from dementia, which began to manifest in 2004. He died in 2013 in Tübingen, aged 90.[15]

Honours and awards[edit]



  1. ^ "German writer and intellectual Walter Jens dies | News | DW.DE | 10.06.2013". DW.DE. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Walter Jens". Johanneum (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Biografie – Walter Jens". Who's Who. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Zur NSDAP-Mitgliedschaft von Walter Jens". Deutschlandfunk (in German). 26 April 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  5. ^ Kellerhoff, Sven Felix (14 July 2012). "Hitler-Jugend: Hat Walter Jens über seine NSDAP-Zeit gelogen?". DIE WELT (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  6. ^ Hammelehle, Sebastian (10 June 2013). "Zum Tode Walter Jens': Ein Nachruf". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  7. ^ Weinzierl, Ulrich (6 October 2015). "Tod mit 90: Walter Jens war der "Redner dieser Republik"". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  8. ^ Nein (in German). Reinbek bei Hamburg. ISBN 978-3-688-10077-4. OCLC 965627068.
  9. ^ "Nein - Walter Jens". Rowohlt (in German). 1 February 1954. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  10. ^ a b c "Allgemeine Rhetorik – Universität Tübingen » Walter Jens". Allgemeine Rhetorik – Universität Tübingen. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Tausendundkein Momos". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Jens". Akademie der Künste, Berlin (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  13. ^ Stöllner, Heinrich. "Utopie und Phantastik in der deutschsprachigen Hochliteratur Folge 9: Walter Jens: Nein. Die Welt der Angeklagten". Zauberspiegel (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  14. ^ a b Ignée, Tobias (24 December 2021). "Literaturhistorikerin und Publizistin Inge Jens gestorben". (in German). Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Walter Jens im Alter von 90 Jahren gestorben". Sü (in German). 10 June 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2022.

External links[edit]

Walter Jens in the German National Library catalogue