Carl Amery

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Carl Amery (pseudonym of Christian Anton Mayer ; born April 9, 1922 in Munich ; † May 24, 2005 ibid) was a German writer and environmental activist .

He was a member of Group 47 , 1976/77 Chairman of the Association of German Writers (VS) and from 1989 to 1991 President of the PEN Center Germany . From 1967 to 1974 Amery was a member of the SPD , having previously belonged to the GVP . Amery was later a founding member of the Green Party at the Federal Green Congress in Karlsruhe on January 13, 1980 and patron of the Munich Water Alliance. As an initiator and co-founder, Amery was President of the EF Schumacher Society for Political Ecology (Munich) from 1980 to 1995 .


The crypt of the Freising Cathedral

Carl Amery spent his childhood mainly in Passau and Freising as a student at the Humanist Gymnasium Passau and the Dom-Gymnasium - both cities should leave their mark on his work (e.g. Passau in The Competition and The Downfall of the City of Passau and Freising in The secret of the crypt ). Amery then received a scholarship from the Maximilianeum and studied modern philology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich , later the same subject, plus literary theory and criticism, at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC

During the Second World War he was taken prisoner by the Americans in Tunisia in 1943 and returned to Munich in 1946, where he resumed his interrupted studies (languages ​​and literary studies). He began to write, initially under his slightly Americanized name as Chris Mayer , then he took the pseudonym Carl Amery , Amery being an anagram of Mayer .

In 1954 his first novel ( The Competition ) was published. Now a member of Group 47 , he established his reputation as a satirist in 1958 with the novel The Great German Tour . This reputation lingered for a long time.

He showed another side of his work in the church-critical work Die Kapitulation oder Deutscher Katholizismus heute, published in 1963 , followed by The End of Providence. The merciless consequences of Christianity , in which he assigned Christianity complicity in the global destruction of the environment . This predestined Amery for the role of the pioneer of political ecology, which he filled in with further writings such as in particular The Ecological Chance and underlined through his personal commitment - initially in the initial phase with the Green Party , then in 1980 by founding the independent E. F. Schumacher Society, of which he was chairman until 1995.

From 1967 to 1971 Amery was director of the Munich city library , which meant a publication break for him.

In 1974 he finally turned to a third genre, science fiction , which at the time was a surprising step for an author who was classified as a high literary figure . He was influenced not least by Gilbert Keith Chesterton , whose science fiction novels he later published in revised German versions. Above all, three novels by Amery belong in this area, namely

  • The King's Project (1974): The Vatican undertakesto change historyusing a time machine constructedby Leonardo da Vinci . The aim of the Congregatio secreta ad purificandos fontes (CSAPF) isto conquerthe crown of England for the House of Wittelsbach by manipulating history . But the two Monsignors Sbiffio-Trulli and Doensmaker have to experience that their calculations of historical necessity go wrong.
  • The downfall of the city of Passau (1975): In the foreword, Amery calls the novel a “finger exercise”, the work of which was inspired by the novel A Canticle for Leibowitz (German: Lobgesang auf Leibowitz ) by American SF author Walter M. Miller . Accordingly, the novel appears in the Heyne Verlag SF seriesand becomes Amery's greatest book success. About the content: After the global catastrophe caused by an epidemic, two groups emerged - one group is trying to rebuild civilization (including electricity, bureaucracy and the social class), the other goes back to the roots of subsistence farming and establishes a culture on something like that Bronze Age level. The novel tells the story of the necessarily resulting cultural conflict.
  • At the fires of Leyermark (1979): Here, too, it is about historical necessity, chance or fate - in short: "What would have happened if ...?" In this case: What would have happened if, in 1866, a Bavarian official had an American one equipped with bolt-action rifles Riot troops (the war of civil secession in the USA was just over) would have recruited for the upcoming war against Prussia . After the defeat of the Prussians, the anarchist-democratic rioters turned the European mentality upside down: the conflicts emerged into the Central European Confederation (an alternative European Union), which was built up anarchist-syndicalist with extensive community freedom and rid France and Germany of their alleged archenemy.

Two further novels by Amery, interspersed with fantasy elements, deal with Bavarian spirituality: In Die Wallfahrer (1986) the protagonists move towards the old place of grace Tuntenhausen ; and in the secret of the crypt (1990), the crypt in the Freising Cathedral (and there the so-called beast column ) forms the center of the story that spans three generations, whereby the question known from the fires of the Leyermark (but also from the royal project ) becomes one Science of "Sphagistics" is raised, as history could have been completely different due to slightly changed individual conditions.

From 1985 onwards, Amery's collected works were published in separate editions by Paul List-Verlag in Munich. In 2001, Amery stated in an interview that he would not write any more novels for health reasons.

Carl Amery's health deteriorated over the last few years due to emphysema until his death. He was buried on May 30, 2005 at Munich's Ostfriedhof in the closest family circle. The rights to his publications were held by his widow Marijane Mayer until her death in 2019.

In 2007, the essay volume Arbeit an der Zukunft appeared posthumously , which contains a fragment of a pamphlet against US religious rights , on which Amery worked until shortly before his death.

Awards and honors

In 2007, the Association of German Writers in Bavaria donated the Carl Amery Literature Prize in his memory .


Novels and short stories

Radio plays

  • I am available. 1966
  • Final Michigan Rescue. 1982
  • Umbrella jumper. Bayerischer Rundfunk, 1984.
  • The Penthouse Protocol. WDR / BR / HR, 1987.

Essays and pamphlets


  • with Kurt Kusenberg and Eugen Oker : sugar and cinnamon. ff. rhymes. Langewiesche-Brandt, Ebenhausen 1972, ISBN 3-7846-0066-2 .
  • March, back to the trees or how we can do better. Schaffstein, Dortmund 1979, ISBN 3-588-00021-6 (non-fiction book for young people).
  • GK Chesterton or the fight against the cold. Kerle, Freiburg / Heidelberg 1981, ISBN 3-600-30082-2 .
  • with Marina Bohlmann: Munich. dtv, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-423-03708-3 (travel guide).
  • with Günter Altner, Robert Jungk and Jürgen Schneider: elements of life. Fire water Air Earth. Herder, Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 1985, ISBN 3-451-20178-X .
  • with Georg Kurzinger (photographs): Bavaria. Bucher, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-7658-0811-3 (text for illustrated book).
  • Fleuves & turbulences (currents & eddies). Intermediate harvest of a richly shaken rhyme life. Publishing house Kuckuck & Straps (of the publisher and painter Fritz Gebhardt alias Eugen Oker), Munich 2000, ISBN 3-935276-00-1 .


  • Heinrich Böll : Epilogue to Carl Amery “The Capitulation”. In: Letters from the Rhineland. Writings and speeches 1960–1963. Munich 1985, ISBN 3-423-10602-6 , pp. 224–227 (see also Böll's article Good and Bad Catholics? In: Der Spiegel . No. 19 , 1963, pp. 82 ( online ). )
  • Ute Bauer, Olaf Rappold and Thomas Tilsner: Interview with Carl Amery. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): The Science Fiction Magazine # 10. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag Munich 1983, ISBN 3-453-31048-9 , pp. 117-136.
  • Hans Werner Richter : In the establishment of the butterflies. 21 portraits from Group 47. Munich 1986
  • Karl Michael Armer : The pilgrims. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): The Science Fiction Year 1987 Volume 2, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-453-31365-8 , pp. 638-640.
  • Joseph Kiermeier-Debre (Ed.): Carl Amery - "... guess what it was all about". Exhibition of a work. List, Munich / Leipzig 1996, ISBN 3-471-79324-0
  • Karlheinz Steinmüller : Laudation to Carl Améry. On the occasion of the award of the German Fantasy Prize 1996. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): The Science Fiction Year 1997. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich, ISBN 3-453-11896-0 , pp. 635–641.
  • Joseph Kiermeier-Debre (ed.): Carl Amery: Work on the future. Essays. Luchterhand Collection, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-630-62123-4 .
  • Götz Fenske: Encounters with Carl Amery and Herbert Gruhl. In: Conservative of nature. 2008/2009. Edited by the Herbert Gruhl Society e. V. Bad Schussenried 2009, ISBN 978-3-87336-904-7 , pp. 90-110; ( Excerpt from
  • Christoph F. Lorenz: Amery, Carl. In: Lexicon of Science Fiction Literature since 1900. With a look at Eastern Europe , edited by Christoph F. Lorenz, Peter Lang, Frankfurt / Main 2016, ISBN 978-3-631-67236-5 , pp. 193–198.
  • Bernhard M. Baron : Carl Amery and Tirschenreuth. A family search for traces. In: home district Tirschenreuth. Volume 30/2018, Pressath 2018, ISBN 978-3-947247-21-9 , pp. 139–145.
  • Harald Eggebrecht: Carl Amery is dead - the rebel, language player and enlightener. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . May 30, 2005 (obituary: ).
  • Tilman Urbach : pilgrimage in the headwind. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . May 31, 2005 (obituary: ).
  • Dirk Knipphals: Commitment is everything. In: The daily newspaper . June 1, 2005 (obituary: ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Schumacher Society for Political Ecology - Home Carl Amery ( Memento from October 5, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Carl Amery: When the mouse Adolf burned in the cannon furnace . In: Welt am Sonntag . May 8, 2005 ( [accessed on May 18, 2018]): “May 8, 1945 was important for me as the second anniversary of my personal liberation - namely the capture by the 8th British Army on the beach at Mars -la-Plage in Tunis. "
  3. Amery 1972 - The End of Providence - Reprinted in The Ecological Chance , 1985.
  4. Amery 1976 - Nature as Politics - Reprinted in The Ecological Chance , 1985.
  5. Amery 1998 - Ludger Lütkehaus : Review in Die Zeit, December 30, 1998 and B. Kirsch in FAZ , November 27, 1998.
  6. Amery 2002 - Reviews: Christine Diller in Münchner Merkur, March 2, 2002 ( memento of March 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) and E. v. Thadden in Die Zeit, No. 15, 2002 .
  7. Amery 2005 - Letters to Wealth - Review by M. Siemons in the FAZ on July 25, 2005.