Barbara Honigmann

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Barbara Honigmann (born February 12, 1949 in East Berlin ) is a German writer .


Barbara Honigmann is the daughter of Jewish parents who survived the period of National Socialism as emigrants in British exile and who returned to Berlin in 1947 to support the construction of a new Germany. Due to his communist convictions, Honigmann's father Georg Honigmann decided to return to the Soviet occupation zone . In exile in England, he had married Barbara Honigmann's mother, Alice Kohlmann from Vienna (known as Litzi Friedmann), who had previously been married to the double agent Kim Philby . In her third marriage, her father was married to the GDR actress and singer Gisela May from 1956 to 1965 .

After graduating from high school , Honigmann studied theater studies at the Humboldt University from 1967 to 1972 . She then worked as a dramaturge and director in Brandenburg and at the Volksbühne and the Deutsches Theater in East Berlin . She has been a freelance writer since 1975 .

After the birth of her first child, she increasingly dealt with the Jewish identity, joined the Jewish community in East Berlin and married in 1981 according to the Jewish rite. In 1984 she left the GDR . The first book, the novel of a child, speaks of a threefold leap of death without a network: from East to West, from Germany to France, and from assimilation right into the middle of Torah Judaism .

Like Maxim Biller , Rafael Seligmann , Esther Dischereit , Irina Liebmann , Robert Schindel and Peter Stephan Jungk , Honigmann belongs to the German-speaking ›second generation‹ of Jewish families who survived the Holocaust. Books have been translated into French, Italian, English, Hungarian, Norwegian, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish and Finnish. She is also active as a visual artist; Pictures were shown in several exhibitions.

Barbara Honigmann, who is a member of the PEN Center for German-Language Authors Abroad and a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz and the German Academy for Language and Poetry , lives with her husband, who is the director of the Heidelberg Central Archives for Research into the History of Jews in Germany , Peter Honigmann , in Strasbourg . She has two children, Johannes Honigmann (* 1976) and Ruben Honigmann (* 1983).


Irina Wittmer , member of the jury for the 2012 Elisabeth Langgässer Literature Prize awarded to Barbara Honigmann , emphasizes: “Honigmann brings people closer to Judaism in a warm-hearted way and brings it out of the shadows. It shows that the power of evil could not destroy everything. ”She also sees a parallel to the life and family history of Elisabeth Langgässer , which was also shaped by the“ irrationalities and the madness of the 20th century ”. Jury member Thomas Koch praised the recurring reference to the biography and describes Honigmann's language as "straightforward, detoxified, but nevertheless very poetic prose".

Single track

Radio play · theater play

  • The singing, jumping lion beak . Berlin 1979, premiere. Theaters of the city of Zwickau, November 23, 1980, director: Klaus Thewes. Reprint: Marion Victor (ed.): Spielplatz, 3rd Verlag der Authors, Frankfurt 1990, ISBN 3-88661-107-8 , pp. 125-160 (also as a record).
  • The tailor from Ulm. Henschel, Berlin 1981, first broadcast April 1, 1982, SR ; World premiere at Theater am Turm. Director: Wolf Vogel. Frankfurt am Main, March 22, 1984.
  • Don juan Director: Wolf Vogel. World premiere at Theater am Turm, Frankfurt am Main, March 22, 1984.
  • In Memory of Mutti. Director: Leonhard Koppelmann . Premiere. Südwestrundfunk 2009.

Essay · Poetics · Speech

  • A “very little literature” of trust. In: Sense and Form . 2000, Issue 6, pp. 830–844 (poetry lecture at the University of Tübingen on May 12, 2000; again in: BH 2006; about Glückel von Hameln , Anne Frank , Rahel Varnhagen ).
  • Find the face again. About writing, writers and Judaism (= Edition Akzente ). Essays. Hanser, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-446-20681-7 .
  • View over the valley. To photos by Arnold Zwahlen . Essay. Edition Spycher published by Urs Engeler, Basel / Weil am Rhein 2007, ISBN 978-3-938767-38-2 .
  • The crooked, the ungracious, the impossible, the inconsistent. Speech on the award of the Kleist Prize. In: Sense and Form. Issue 1, Berlin 2001, pp. 31-40.
  • Find the face again. Speech on the occasion of the award of the Jeanette Schocken Prize . In: the hear . Issue 2/2001, pp. 233-236.


  • Lev Ustinow : The wooden train (Russian: Derevjannaja doroga ). Play for children. With Nelly Drechsler. Henschel Verlag, Berlin 1979.
  • Anna Akhmatova : Frost in front of the windows. With Fritz Mierau. Friedenauer Presse, Berlin 1988.

Art catalogs

  • Barbara Honigmann. Images and texts. Below: self-portrait as a Jew. Michael Hasenclever Gallery, Munich 1992.
  • Barbara Honigmann. Thirteen pictures and one day. Michael Hasenclever Gallery, Munich 1997.
  • Barbara Honigmann. Of names and collections. Michael Hasenclever Gallery, Munich 2002.



  • Marcel Reich-Ranicki : Bras Sketches and Etudes. In: Marcel Reich-Ranicki: About Troublemakers. Jews in German Literature. 2nd Edition. dtv, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-421-06491-1 , pp. 191-196.
  • Karen Remmler: En-gendering Bodies of Memory. Tracing the Genealogy of Identity in the Work of Dischereit, BH and Dische. In: Reemerging Jewish Culture in Germany. Life and Literature since 1989. Ed. SL Gilman & KR University Press, New York 1994, ISBN 0-8147-3062-0 , ISBN 0-8147-3065-5 , pp. 184-209.
  • Guy Stern : BH In: Literary Culture in Exile. Collected Essays on the German-speaking Emigration After 1933 (1989–1997). University Press, Dresden 1998, ISBN 3-931828-05-0 , pp. 245-251.
  • Anat Feinberg : Abinding in a Haunted Land. The Issue of “Heimat” in Contemporary German Jewish Writings. In: New German Critique. 70th edition. University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 1997, ISSN  0094-033X , pp. 161-181.
  • Helene Schruff: Interactions. German-Jewish identity in narrative prose of the 'second generation' (= HASKALA. Scientific papers. Volume 20). Olms, Hildesheim 2000, ISBN 3-487-11031-8 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sibylle Birrer: World history by the way. A book of memories by Barbara Honigmann. Review of the biographical novel about the mother: A chapter from my life. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . September 25, 2004 ( ( memento of February 10, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) [accessed on February 26, 2020]).
  2. ^ Con tanto, tanto affetto. Translated into Italian by A. Luise. Marsilio, Venezia 2002.
  3. Zohara utazása. ISBN 963-9348-90-2 .
  4. The writer and painter Barbara Honigmann in conversation with Werner Witt. In: SWR2 . September 29, 2015, accessed November 17, 2019 .
  5. Member entry by Barbara Honigmann at the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz , accessed on November 11, 2017.
  6. Central Archive Heidelberg .
  7. ^ Andreas Riechert: No frills style. In: Allgemeine Zeitung. October 26, 2011.
  8. Andreas Riechert: Purified poetry. In: Wiesbadener Tagblatt . October 26, 2011 ( ( memento from January 6, 2013 in the web archive ) [accessed on February 26, 2020]).
  9. ^ French: Le roman d'un enfant. Transl. Françoise Doussin, Nicole Costantino, Charles Fichter. Strasbourg 1999 (first as a radio play, first broadcast on SR December 2, 1984).
  10. ^ French: Un amour fait de rien. Translated from Christian Richard. Paris 2001.
  11. ^ French: Le dimanche le rabbin joue au foot. Translated by Raphaëlle Dedourge, Paris 2001.
  12. ^ French: Les îles du passé. Translator Colette Strauss-Hiva. Nîmes 1999.
  13. Franz .: Très affectueusement. Translated from Christian Richard. Paris 2001.
  14. Franz .: L'agent recruteur. Translator Colette Strauss-Hiva. Paris 2008.
  15. Matthias Kußmann : An almost fictional memory of the city. Review. In: Deutschlandfunk . October 2, 2008.
  16. Jörg Magenau : A failed love. Review. In: Deutschlandradio Kultur . July 27, 2011, accessed February 26, 2020.
  17. U. a. about Albert Cohen , Bertha Pappenheim and Jeanette Schocken; for more see BH, 2000 and 2001.
  18. Ruth Klüger: Being a Jew, writing in German. Review. In: The world . December 23, 2006, accessed February 26, 2020.
  19. Again in: BH, 2006.
  20. Again in: BH, 2006.
  21. ↑ Images of man. “A chapter from my life” - Barbara Honigmann. Design: Heinz Janisch. In: . October 18, 2015.
  22. Barbara Honigmann receives Ricarda Huch Prize ( memento from October 20, 2015 in the web archive ). In: rbb Kulturradio . 19th June 2015.
  23. NN : Cheers to the poetry. In: Fürth News . June 4, 2018 (print edition).