Aleksandar Tišma

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Aleksandar Tišma ( Serbian - Cyrillic Александар Тишма ; born January 16, 1924 in Horgoš ; † February 16, 2003 in Novi Sad ) was a Serbian writer .


Tišma was born in 1924 as the son of a Serbian, Christian merchant and a Hungarian, Jewish housewife in Horgoš in Vojvodina, on the Yugoslavian border with Hungary. He grew up, baptized Orthodox like his father and multilingual in the then multiethnic city of Novi Sad; In addition to Serbian and Hungarian, he learned fluent German and French from a tutor.

He also attended school in Novi Sad, where he graduated from high school in 1942. In Belgrade he studied German, English and French. In 1942 he moved to live with friends in Budapest in order to escape mass arrests in the part of Yugoslavia occupied by the Nazis. Now he began to study economics and Romance languages in Budapest . In 1944, however, he was called up to a labor camp in Transylvania to dig trenches against the advancing Red Army . After the labor camp was closed, he took part in the people 's liberation movement from November 1944 .

From 1945 he worked as a journalist for the newspapers Slobodna Vojvodina and Borba . In 1949 he returned to Novi Sad and became a lecturer or chief editor of the publishing house of the Matica Srpska cultural association . From 1950 he dealt with literary work. In 1954 he graduated from the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Belgrade with a degree in English . In addition to his literary works, he has translated from German and Hungarian. From 1958 he was editor of "Letopis Matice srpske".

Tišma emigrated during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. After failing to acquire Israeli citizenship because his mother formally joined the Christian Orthodox faith, he moved to Western Europe and lived mainly in France. He later returned to Novi Sad.

Aleksandar Tišma was “Writer in Residence” at the Literaturhaus Basel from May to August 2000 .

Tišma's work is considered part of world literature. In his novels and short stories he focused on the failure of European humanism . As an adolescent he was confronted with the atrocities of the Nazis, Hitler's Blitzkrieg in April 1941 , the mass murder of Novi Sad in January 1942 and the occupation of the Batschka by Hungarian and German troops in the spring of 1944. His works are essentially a processing of these events. They focus on, among other matters moral dilemmas which especially with the survival of the Shoah are connected (see. About from the perspective of Holocaust research, the system of prisoner functionaries and from a psychological perspective, the Survivor Guilt Syndrome ). His son is the action artist Andrej Tišma, born in Novi Sad in 1952 .


a) Work cycle (arranged according to the chronology of the Serbo-Croatian first publication)

The following five books, which Tišma himself later called his personal Pentateuch , form the focus of his work as a cycle, in that they describe, using individual fates, how the years marked by war, occupation and the Holocaust affect the post-war presence of life in Tišma's northern Serbian hometown Novi Sad.

The baptized Jew Blam searches the streets of Novi Sad for traces of his youth - and his identity. He feels himself excluded from life, isolated from his wife and separated from his relatives and friends who died in the Holocaust or in the resistance.
  • The use of man . Translation by Barbara Antkowiak, Hanser, Munich / Vienna 1991, ISBN 978-3-446-15752-1 . (Orig. 1976 as Upotreba čoveka .)
It deals with the destruction of a society characterized by the peaceful coexistence of Germans, Hungarians, Jews and Serbs through war and terror. The destruction of personality and dignity becomes visible on the basis of four fates. The survivors are either physically mutilated or, like the so-called "half-Jewish" German Vera who was abused as a concentration camp prostitute, return to their hometown as a broken person and find no place in of society.
  • The school of godlessness . Translation by Barbara Antkowiak, Hanser, Munich / Vienna 1993, ISBN 978-3-446-17042-1 . (Orig. 1978 as Škola bezbožništva .)
Four stories mainly about people in extreme situations.
  • Loyalty and betrayal . Translation by Barbara Antkowiak, Hanser, Munich / Vienna 1999, ISBN 978-3-446-19667-4 . (Orig. 1983 as Vere i zavere .)
A love story between Sergej, a lawyer, and Inge, a German expelled after the war, who visits Novi Sad, the city of her birth, in order to sell a property. Sergej, traumatized by terrible experiences as a partisan in the war, tries to break out of his bleak life through the love story. But he is unable to feel happiness.
  • Kapo . Translation by Barbara Antkowiak, Hanser, Munich / Vienna 1997, ISBN 978-3-446-19134-1 . (Orig. 1987 as Kapo .)
The Jew Vilko Lamian survived by taking a false identity and taking the side of the National Socialists (“Kapo”) and thereby becoming the perpetrator himself. Plagued by his conscience, he goes in search of one of his victims, the Jew Helena Lifka.

b) Other works translated into German (sorted by year of translation)

  • Price of the lie . Play, performed in Iserlohn (West Germany) in 1954, premiered in Niš (Yugoslavia) in 1953

“The material for his first play [...] was provided by a political trial in Prague in which a minister and old communist was brought to justice for treason and espionage, and his son, a student, was persuaded by the secret service to testify against his father . The father was sentenced to death for the false statement, but afterwards his son, the student, also committed suicide. This play was performed in Iserlohn in 1954. Tišma received an invitation to attend the premiere, but since the takeover of power in Yugoslavia, he was refused a passport on the grounds that he was a political opponent of Yugoslavia. Tišma apologized to the theater management in Iserlohn by not being able to participate in the performance for family reasons and, as he said himself, used a lie for this. The price of this lie was that Tišma was only able to leave for Germany decades later. From then on, however, his international fame grew at a rapid pace. "

  • We love . Translation by Barbara Antkowiak, Hanser, Munich / Vienna 1996, ISBN 978-3-446-17823-6 . (Orig. 1990 as bunk volimo .)
Novi Sad after World War II. Times are bad and prostitution is forbidden. But matchmakers' business is flourishing as long as they are not caught. Sharp-sighted, laconic, without ambiguity and with the greatest respect for his characters, Tišma tells the fate of those who missed out in life on the hunt for a little luck.
  • Without a scream. Narratives . 2001, ISBN 978-3-446-17823-6 . (Orig. 1980 as Bez krika .)
  • Journey into my forgotten self: Diary 1942-1951, Meridians of Central Europe . Translation by Barbara Antkowiak, Hanser, Munich / Vienna 2003, ISBN 978-3-446-20359-4 . (Orig. 1951 and 1969 as Dnevnik 1942-1951 and Meredijani Srednje Envrope .)

c) Other publications without a known German translation (sorted by Serbo-Croatian year of publication; title translation in brackets, if applicable, literature genre)

  • Naseljeni svet , 1956 (The Inhabited World): Poems
  • Krčma , 1961 (pub): poems
  • Krivice , 1965 (Debt): Short Stories
  • Nasilje , 1965 (violence): short stories
  • Za crnom devojkom , 1969 (after the black girl): Roman
  • Drugde , 1969 (Elsewhere): Travel Descriptions
  • Mrtvi ugao , 1973 (The Dead Corner): Short Stories
  • Povratak miru , 1977 (return to calm): short stories
  • Begunci , 1981 (refugees): Roman
  • Hiljadu i druga noć , 1987 (The thousand and second nights): short stories
  • Nenapisana priča , 1989 (unwritten story): Speech on the occasion of admission to the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Vojvodina
  • Pre mita , 1989 (Before the Myth): Essays
  • Široka vrata , 1989 (The Wide Door): Novel
  • Iskušenje ljubavi , 1995 (Temptation of Love)
  • Šta sam govorio , 1996 (What I told you): Interviews
  • Dan odlaganja , 1997 (The day of procrastination)
  • Na kratkoj vožnji , 1998 (In a short drive): short stories
  • Dozvoljene igre , 2000 (Allowed Games): Dramas
  • Sečaj se večkrat na Vali , 2000 (With the everlasting memory of Vali): autobiography
  • Dnevnik 1942–2001 , 2001 (Diary 1942–2001)
  • Pesme i zapisi , 2001 (poems and essays)
  • Najlepše pripovetke Aleksandra Tišme , 2001 (The most beautiful stories by Aleksandar Tišma): Selected stories
  • Oko svoje ose , 2001 (Around your own axis): Short stories

d) Posthumously published writings

Film adaptations

  • Vere i zavere (2015/2016)
From September to November 2015, the film adaptation of the novel Vere i zavere ( Loyalty and Treason ) in the form of a twelve-part television series took place at Radio-televizija Vojvodine (RTV). Under the artistic direction of Žanko Tomić , Ivan Živković were hired as director and Đorđe Milosavljević as screenwriter. Nina Janković , Goran Bogdan , Ivan Đorđević , Bojan Živković , Nikola Rakočević and Dragana Dabović play the leading roles . The episodes were broadcast from March 13 to June 5, 2016, usually on a weekly basis.



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Vrdoljak 2013, p. 29; Engelberg 2013.
  2. a b c d Schubert 2003, p. 239.
  3. Short biography and reviews of works by Aleksandar Tišma at , accessed on February 27, 2011.
  4. Miloš Zorzut: Suvremeni pisci Jugoslavije. Stvarnost, Zagreb 1966, p. 355.
  5. Engelberg 2013.
  6. Basel has a new literature house., February 29, 2000, accessed December 5, 2008 .
  7. Revital Ludewig-Kedmi: victims and perpetrators at the same time? Moral Dilemmas of Jewish Functional Prisoners in the Shoah . Psychosozial-Verlag, Giessen 2001; P. 321.
  8. Vrdoljak 2013, pp. 29–31.
  9. Vrdoljak 2013, p. 30f.
  10. Miloš Bodnar: Liberators promoting alienation. Translators as social actors who help to decide the extent and direction of the Serbian-German “literary capital flow”. in: Georg Gierzinger, Sylvia Hölzl, Christine Roner (eds.): Play forms of power - interdisciplinary perspectives on power in the context of young Slavic research. Innsbruck: innsbruck university press 2011; ISBN 978-3-902719-87-4 ; Pp. 407-421, here: p. 415 .
  11. Richard Reichensperger: "The pessimist is always right" ; Der Standard, February 20, 2003; accessed on January 8, 2016.
  12. Heiko Hansel: The school of godlessness ; taz, February 18, 2003; accessed on January 8, 2016.
  13. ^ Gregor Dotzauer: pupil of godlessness ; Der Tagesspiegel, February 17, 2003; accessed on January 8, 2016.
  14. Schubert 2003, p. 240.
  15. Aleksandra Salamurović: On the reception of Aleksandar Tišma in Serbia . Journal of Balkanology, Vol. 43, No. 2, Sept. 2007. ISSN 0044-2356.
  16. Vere i zavere in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  17. See the website of the series at RTV; Furthermore, the broadcast dates in the RTV video on demand database with download function  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed on April 19, 2016. See also the RTV broadcasts: RTV snima seriju "Vere i zavere" of September 8, 2015; Završeno snimanje TV serije "Vere i zavere" from November 24, 2015.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  18. ^ Perlez 1997.