Ernst Wiechert [born in 1887 in East Prussia] was the son of a forest warden and grew up in a rural atmosphere. After completing pedagogical studies he volunteered for military service in World War 1. His war experiences strogly influenced his subject matter in his works written in the 1920s, for example the novel „Der Totenwolf" (1922).
In 1930 he experienced what he described as an "epiphany of grace". He settled in Upper Bavaria and gained a large readership among those who regarded him as a moral beacon. His novels „Die Majorin" (1933) and „Hirtennovelle" (1935) were among the most popular works of the period.
Since Wiechert's works were connected to family, hearth and home, the Nazis regarded him favorably, until Wiechert displayed his opposition to the Nazi policies. After his public address „Der Dichter und die Zeit", in which he criticized the role of the state in setting cultural standards, he became a persona non grata to the Nazi regime.
Then when he wrote a letter against the arrest of Pastor Niemöller, Wiechert was himself arrested and placed in the Buchenwald prison camp. After physical and psychological torture to convince him to write nothing further, he was released in the early 40s.
published the book that made his modern reputation: „Der
Totenwald" (1945). After the war Wiechert made several lecture tours of
the US describing what had happened in Germany under the Nazis. The
main works of the last years of his life are „Jerominkinder"
in the war but not
published until 1946) and his final work „Missa sine nomine"
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