Arno Surminski

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Arno Surminski (born August 20, 1934 in Jäglack near Drengfurth / East Prussia ) is a German writer and journalist .


Surminski spent his childhood in East Prussia. After the war ended in 1945, his parents were deported to the Soviet Union , while he was able to escape to Trittau in Schleswig-Holstein . After elementary school he did an apprenticeship in a law firm from 1950 to 1953. From 1957 to 1960 he lived as a woodcutter in Canada , but then moved back to Germany. From 1962 to 1972 he worked as an employee in the legal department of a Hamburg insurance company .

Since 1982 he has been working as a freelance business and insurance journalist alongside his literary work.

Surminski became known with numerous stories and novels, most of which deal with his East Prussian homeland and the fate of the expellees and refugees. Surminski's aim is not revenge, but rather to preserve the memory of that land of his happy childhood. "It was particularly important to me to reconcile the two generations, to get them to understand each other better," said Surminski to the Ostpreußenblatt (October 30, 1999).

Arno Surminski is a member of the Free Academy of the Arts Hamburg .

From 2001 to 2007 Surminski was the ombudsman of the Association of Private Health Insurance . He lives in Hamburg and has three grown children.


Novels and short stories

  • Jokehnen or how long do you travel from East Prussia to Germany? 1974. (was filmed in 1987 as a three-part TV series )
  • Fallen out of the nest - stories from Kalischken. 1976.
  • Kudenow or weeping at strange waters. 1978. (was made into a film in 1981)
  • Foreign country or When freedom was still available. 1980. (was made into a film)
  • Like Königsberg in winter. 1981.
  • Polish links or a German love. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1984, ISBN 3-455-07506-1 .
  • Thunderstorm in January. Stories. 1986.
  • Maloja wind. A Lovestory. 1988.
  • At the dark end of the rainbow. 1988.
  • Grunowen or The Past Life. 1986.
  • The trip to Nikolaiken. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1991.
  • Back then in Poggenwalde. Children's book. 1983.
  • Not a beautiful country. 1993.
  • Visit from Stralsund. Stories. 1995.
  • A certain career. Business stories. 1996.
  • Summer 44 or How long do you travel from Germany to East Prussia? 1997.
  • The Masurian kings. Christmas stories. 1999.
  • The children of Moorhusen. With drawings by Silvia Christoph. Ullstein, Munich 2001. ISBN 9783550083440 . Paperback: The Children of Moorhusen. With drawings by Silvia Christoph. Ullstein, Berlin 2004. ISBN 3-548-25876-X .
  • The winter of the animals. 2002.
  • Fatherland without fathers. Novel. Ullstein, Berlin 2004. ISBN 3-550-08604-0 .
  • Gruschelke and Engelmannke. Stories in East Prussian and Standard German. Ullstein, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-550-08646-6 .
  • The bird life of Auschwitz. Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-7844-3126-0 .
  • Amanda, or An American Spring. LangenMüller, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-7844-3188-8 .
  • The Masurian train journey and other cheerful stories. Stories. Ellert & Richter Verlag, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-8319-0392-4 .
  • Winter Forty-five, or The Women of Palm Nods. Ellert & Richter Verlag, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-8319-0421-1 .
  • Death of a judge. Novel about an unwanted child. Ellert & Richter Verlag, Hamburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-8319-0457-0 .
  • In the garden of the beautiful. Cheerful and contemplative stories from the north. Ellert & Richter Verlag, Hamburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-8319-0491-4 .
  • Jokehnen or The Voices of Others. Ellert & Richter Verlag, Hamburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-8319-0522-5 .
  • From the wars. Novel. Langen Müller, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-7844-3400-1 .
  • The long way. From the Memel to the Moskva. Novel. LangenMüller, Stuttgart 2019. ISBN 978-3-7844-3508-4 .


  • In the Train of Times - The Victoria from 1853 to the present day. Düsseldorf 1978.
  • Jauch & Hübener 75 years 1919–1994. 1994.
  • Insurance under the swastika. Ullstein, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-548-24949-3 .
  • In the train of the times. 150 years of VICTORIA. 1853-2003. 1st edition. Victoria Insurance Companies, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-00-011767-9 .
  • Old East Prussia. Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8319-0288-0 .

Works translated into other languages

  • Queen of the Highway. Translated by Stephen Cameron Jalil Nicholls. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2000.
  • The pear tree and other memories. Literature as history. Translated by Stephen Cameron Jalil Nicholls. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2006, ISBN 0-9542518-2-2 .
  • It was on the fifth Sunday after Trinity. Translated by Stephen Cameron Jalil Nicholls. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2009, ISBN 978-0-9542518-4-0 .
  • Last train to Koenigsberg. Valediction. Stories translated by Stephen Cameron Jalil Nicholls with an afterword by Arno Surminski. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2013.
  • Who was she? Translated by Stephen Cameron Jalil Nicholls. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2013.
  • Brigde-building in the Orient. Translated by Stephen Cameron Jalil Nicholls. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2013.
  • The bird world of Auschwitz. A novella. Translated by Stephen Cameron Jalil Nicholls. With a foreword by Edward Timms. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2013, ISBN 978-0-9542518-6-4 .
  • The windmill in Woltersdorf - four war stories. Translated by Stephen Cameron Jalil Nicholls. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2015, ISBN 100-9542518-7-3 .
  • A courier for Dobre Miasto - two stories of German-Polish reconciliation. Translated by Stephen Cameron Jalil Nicholls. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2017. ISBN 978-0-9955715-1-8 . (Also includes: Reunion with Kalischken. )


  • Herman Ernst Beyersdorf: Remembered Home. East Prussia in the literary work of Arno Surminski. (= Studies by the Research Center for East Central Europe at the University of Dortmund. 24). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1999, ISBN 3-447-04126-9 .
  • Stephen C (ameron) J (alil) Nicholls: Arno Surminski. A note on his style and his place in post-war german literature. A historical-literary tour. Nicholls, Burgess Hill 2000.
  • Andrzej Katny: Introduction to the work of Arno Hermann Surminski. In: Birgit Lermen, Mirosław Ossowski (Ed.): Europe in Transition. Literature, values ​​and European identity. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, St. Augustin 2004, ISBN 83-86771-23-2 , pp. 301-307.
  • Arno Surminski. (= Littera Borealis. Edition on contemporary literature in the north. 11). Published by Sparkassenstiftung Schleswig-Holstein. Initiative and editor. Bernd Brandes-Druba. Sparkassenstiftung Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel 2012.


Web links

References and footnotes

  1. Collection of many old photos with accompanying texts
  2. Thomas Andre: Federal Cross of Merit for Arno Surminski. In: Hamburger Abendblatt . June 28, 2016.