Arno Schirokauer

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Arnold "Arno" Fritz Kurt Schirokauer (born July 20, 1899 in Cottbus ; † May 24, 1954 in Baltimore , Maryland , USA ) was a German writer and German studies scholar .


Arno Schirokauer grew up as the son of the Jewish country doctor Moritz Schirokauer and Louise Moser in Cottbus. He served in the Air Force during World War I and was seriously wounded in 1918. After the war he studied German philology in Berlin and Halle and received his doctorate in Munich in 1921 on a medieval topic. Since a habilitation scholarship was devalued by inflation, Schirokauer worked as a scientific assistant at the dictionary commission of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , at the German library in Leipzig and as a private tutor. In 1926 he married the publicist Erna Selo-Moser and became a freelance author and lecturer at the Leipziger Volksakademie. From 1929 until the National Socialists came to power in 1933, he headed the book reviews department at Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk and worked in the literary department.

Schirokauer was dismissed in 1933 and worked temporarily until 1937 at Radio Bern in Switzerland as a dramaturge and director of directing courses. From 1935 he took up his permanent residence in Florence (Italy), but returned in 1937 to have his passport renewed. During this stay in Germany, he was arrested and 13 months in the concentration camps interned Dachau and Buchenwald. He obtained his release through bribery. Finally in 1939 he emigrated to the USA via Cuba. He was expatriated in 1939 and in 1940 the Munich University revoked his doctorate.

Schirokauer completed his habilitation in the USA and became a Germanist with a focus on medieval studies at American universities, since 1946 at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore .

In 1954 Schirokauer died - a year earlier he had turned down an offer to Frankfurt. In addition to his reputation as a mediaevalist , Arno Schirokauer is considered an important radio play author and theorist. In contrast, his biographical and factographic works are largely forgotten. His biography Lassalle. The power of illusion. The Illusion of Power (1928) was a success at the time and was published in translation in England and the USA before 1933.

On July 19, 2008, a commemorative plaque was attached to the house where he was born in Cottbus at Brandenburger Platz 6.

His son Conrad Schirokauer (* 1929) became an American historian and sinologist.


  • Lassalle . The power of illusion, the illusion of power. Paul List Verlag, Leipzig 1928.
  • Early radio plays. Edited by Wolfgang Paulsen. Scriptor-Verlag, Kronberg / Ts. 1976, ISBN 3-589-20523-7 .
  • German studies. Selected u. introduced by Fritz Strich. Dr. Ernst Hauswedell, Hamburg 1957.
  • Dasypodius studies. In: Studies on early New High German lexicology and lexicography of the 16th century, partly from the estate ed. by Klaus-Peter Wegera. Heidelberg 1987 (= Studies on Early New High German , 8), pp. 38–121.


  • Helmut Heinze: factography romancée - a first look at the literary work of Arno Schirokauer (1899–1954). In: Authors then and now. Literature-historical examples of changed horizons. Edited by Gerhard P. Knapp. Amsterdam 1991, pp. 713-730.
  • Utz Maas : Persecution and emigration of German-speaking linguists 1933-1945. Entry on Arno Schirokauer (accessed: April 15, 2018)
  • Theresia Wittenbrink: Arnold Schirokauer. In: German-language exile literature since 1933. Volume 3, Part II, ed. by John M. Spalek . Munich 2001, pp. 415-439.
  • Werner Röder, Herbert A. Strauss (Eds.): Biographisches Handbuch der Deutschensprachigen Emigration nach 1933 / International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933–1945 , Vol. II, 2. Saur Munich 1983, ISBN 3-598-10089-2 , P. 1033.
  • Günter Helmes : Arno Schirokauer: Early radio plays . In: Modern Language Journal 63 (7), 1979, p. 377.

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