Ehm withered

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ehm Welk (right) together with Erich Sielaff on May 7, 1952 in East Berlin

Ehm Welk , actually: Gustav Emil Welk , pseudonym : Thomas Trimm (born August 29, 1884 in Biesenbrow , † December 19, 1966 in Bad Doberan ), was a German journalist, writer, founder of adult education centers and professor. He used his nickname Ehm as his first name. He became known through the novel Die Heiden von Kummerow .

life and work

Birthplace of Ehm Welk (2012)

Ehm Welk was born as the son of a farmer in Biesenbrow (today part of Angermünde ). After attending the village school, he left home at the age of 16. From 1900 to 1905 he lived in Stettin , where he completed a commercial apprenticeship in a wine wholesaler. Welk did not enjoy commercial work and turned to journalism. In 1904 he first became a volunteer at the Stettiner Abendpost , later an employee at the liberal Stettiner Neuesten Nachrichten . Later he worked as a journalist for various newspapers in Northern Germany, a. a. 1909 for three months as editor-in-chief of the Stolper Neusten Nachrichten . From 1910 he lived in Braunschweig , where he was editor-in-chief of the Braunschweiger Allgemeine Anzeiger from 1910 to 1919 . He then worked for the Braunschweiger Morgenzeitung .

During this time he directly experienced the November Revolution in Braunschweig . His experiences later formed the basis for the novel Im Morgennebel , which describes real events and people in Braunschweig at that time in a poorly coded form. The novel, on which Welk worked for a long time, was finally available as a manuscript in 1940, but was not published in the GDR until 1953 .

In 1922 he traveled to the USA and Latin America. A year later he returned to Germany and worked as a writer and journalist mainly in Berlin and the surrounding area.

Two revolutionary dramas, Thunderstorm over Gottland (1926) and Descent from the Cross (1927), triggered scandals and - despite their success with the audience - had to be removed from the program.

At the time Hitler came to power , Ehm Welk was editor-in-chief of the Green Post . On April 29, 1934, Ehm Welk published an open letter in the paper under the pseudonym Thomas Trimm , in which he spoke about Joseph Goebbels ' cynical thesis that the writing guild in Germany should simply be a little bolder instead of about Nazi censorship to moan, with the remark "Herr Reichsminister, with every request from you, I don't really know" made fun of. The writer was then arrested and briefly interned in the Oranienburg concentration camp. After his release (which could mainly be traced back to massive protests by journalists from abroad) he was banned from his profession .

The man of letters moved to Lübbenau / Spreewald in 1935 with his wife Agathe Lindner-Welk, who was also a writer (known from the novel Juliane Wied ) - he was married to her from 1924 until his death - and began to write again, but only wrote still (at least apparently) “apolitical books”. In 1940 Ehm Welk moved to Neuenkirchen near Stettin, where he enjoyed the protection of the state cultural administrator for Pomerania, Kuno Popp . The successful novels Die Heiden von Kummerow (1937), Die Lebensuhr des Gottlieb Grambauer (1938) and Die Gerechten von Kummerow (1943) have been written since 1935, all of which depict life in northern German villages with great humor. Today it is assumed that Martin Grambauer's autobiographical traits are processed. In the figure of Gottlieb Grambauer, he created a literary monument to his father Gottfried Welk. In his descriptions of village life "Welk keep his realistic and critical view" significant distance to the Nazi regime and therefore to the authors of an " interior exile " during the time of National Socialism counted.

In 1945 Welk had to leave Neuenkirchen, which came to Poland, as a result of the expulsion and in July 1945 first went to Ueckermünde . From February 1946 he lived in Schwerin . He left his literary career for a few years and founded six adult education centers in Mecklenburg . In 1946 he became director of the Volkshochschule in Schwerin. In 1986 the Volkshochschule Schwerin was given the name "Ehm Welk" in memory of the new founder. In 1950 he moved to Bad Doberan and turned back to writing.

Grave in the Bad Doberan cemetery
Ehm Welk- und Heimatmuseum in Angermünde
Ehm withered house in Bad Doberan
Relief "The Heiden von Kummerow" in front of the Ehm Welk house by sculptor Reinhard Schmidt

Ehm Welk died in Bad Doberan in 1966.

At his request, his house at Dammchaussee 23 was opened to the public in 1979 as a cultural meeting place. Parts of the Ehm Welk-Haus now serve as exhibition rooms and are used for readings or small concerts.


Before the Second World War, Ehm Welk was often compared to Wilhelm Raabe , the creator of the Hunger Pastor , but also to Gustav Freytag .

In the GDR, especially Die Heiden von Kummerow and Die Gerechten von Kummerow remained popular until the end; they were there as the German counterpart to Giovannino Guareschi's stories about Don Camillo and Peppone . The film Die Heiden von Kummerow and their funny pranks was one of the few joint productions between the GDR and FRG in 1967. In 1982 DEFA filmed the novel Die Gerechten von Kummerow .

The remaining works of Welk were reprinted in the GDR after his death, some of them greatly changed. It remains unclear to what extent Ehm Welk himself wanted to reverse concessions from the Nazi era , was subject to self-censorship as a concession to the new dictatorship or GDR lecturers made changes. In the “Heiden von Kummerow”, compared to the first edition, not only deletions or changes in individual words (such as “King” instead of originally “General”, “Hottentotic” instead of originally “Polish”) that were intended to be anti-militaristic, but also essential content and / or leitmotivs Changes away from Christian and biblical elements towards revolutionary class-conscious ones (e.g. Krischan's originally Christianly motivated humility attitude is replaced by a self-accusatory one when he is expelled from the village: he accuses himself of not having supported a seafarers' uprising).


Works (selection)

  • Thunderstorm over Gottland. Drama. 1927.
  • Descent from the Cross. Drama. 1927.
  • Michael Knobbe or The Hole in the Face. Comedy. 1931.
  • The black sun. Life, work and death of German colonial heroes. Ullstein, Berlin 1933 (including a biography of Emin Pasha ).
  • The German forest: its life and its beauty. A guide through the forests of our homeland. Ullstein, Berlin 1935.
  • The pagans of Kummerow . Ullstein, Berlin 1937 (numerous other editions, including many field editions).
  • Gottlieb Grambauer's clock of life: Confession of a simple heart. Novel with text drawings by Alfred Finsterer, Deutscher Verlag, Berlin 1938. Numerous new editions in the GDR by Hinstorff. As a license also in Germany. Last read as an audio book in full by Hans Jochim Schmidt, Vorleser Schmidt Hörbuchverlag, Schwerin 2010, ISBN 978-3-941324-26-8 .
  • The high order from Ehm Welk, VEB Hinstorff Verlag 1965
    The high order: the sacrifice and confession of Werner Voss . Deutscher Verlag, Berlin 1939 (historical novel from the First World War about German prisoners of war in Russia).
  • The Miraculous Friendship: The Book of Animals and Humans . With the support of Walter Hofstaetter. Reclam, Leipzig 1940 (numerous field editions).
  • The fanfare in the Paris march. A Prussian novella. With 17 drawings by Fritz Busse. Deutscher Verlag, Berlin 1942 (numerous field editions).
  • Drum song: a call stirs with a soft hand . Text to the Op. 73 by the composer Willy Richartz . Editing E. Gutzeit. Bote & Bock, Berlin 1943. Overall title: Walhalla; No. 787.
  • The righteous von Kummerow . Novel. German publishing house, Berlin 1943 (numerous field editions).
  • The silent companions: thoughts on living with animals . Limpert, Berlin 1943.
  • The night man: story of a journey between here and over there. 1949.
  • My land that shines afar. Novel. 1952.
  • In the morning mist. Novel. 1953.
  • No hush . Film script. 1954.
  • Mutafo: That is: the thing that goes through the wind. The incredulous Stories d. rühml. christl. Navigator Thomas Trimm u. William Steinert / Ehm Welk. Recorded by Toby Swagger. From d. Slangamish transl., Arr. u. new to d. Day brought. Captured in 116 pictures by William Steinert. , Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 1956 [1] . Additional edition: Hinstorff Verlag, Rostock 1995, 9th edition, ISBN 3-356-00646-0 .
  • The hammer needs to be handled. Stories. 1958.
  • The brave Kühnemann from Puttelfingen. Satirical novel. 1959.
  • Story of a poor love. Carl-Hinstorff-Verlag, 1960 (High German retelling by Reuters Kein Hüsung ).


  • Thomas Diecks:  Wilted, Ehm. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 27, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2020, ISBN 978-3-428-11208-1 , p. 731 f. (not yet available online).
  • Christian Adam : The dream of the year zero: Authors, bestsellers, readers: The reorganization of the world of books in East and West after 1945. Galiani, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-86971-122-5 , pp. 299–303.
  • Matthias Friske : Kummerow in the break behind the mountains. Ehm Welks Biesenbrower Land , Lukas, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-931836-91-6 , 2nd revised and expanded edition 2010, ISBN 978-3-931836-91-7 .
  • Ingeborg Gerlach: Ehm Welk: "In the morning fog". Origin and reception of the novel . In: Braunschweigisches Jahrbuch. Volume 75. Braunschweig 1994.
  • Konrad Reich : Ehm Welk - Stations in a Life. Hinstorff Verlag, Rostock 1976.
  • Reinhard Rösler, Monika Schürmann (eds.): The story was a beginning. New contributions to Ehm Welk's “Heiden von Kummerow” .. Edition M, 2005.
  • Reinhard Rösler, Monika Schürmann (eds.): ... so that I am no longer labeled as an idyllic person. Ehm Welk in the literary life of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania after 1945. Hinstorff / PRO, 1998.
  • Monika Schürmann: The hammer needs to be handled. Investigations into the literary post-war work of Ehm Welk (1945–1966). European University Papers, Volume 1798. Frankfurt am Main 2001.
  • Elsbeth Vahlefeld : The earthly paradise was in Western Pomerania. On the trail of Ehm Welks in Pomerania. In: Pomerania. Journal of Culture and History. Issue 1/2009, ISSN  0032-4167 , pp. 39-42.
  • Wolfgang Blaschke (Ed.): Ehm Welk for his 125th birthday: with contributions to the events on 30./31. August in Angermünde / Editing: Wolfgang Blaschke, Judith Granzow, Dr. Lutz Libert. Angermünde: Ehm-Welk- und Heimatmuseum, 2010.
  • Bernd-Rainer BarthWelk, Ehm . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 2. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  • Christian Lehmann: In the break behind the mountains - Ehm Welk and Biesenbrow. Documentary, DEFA, 1978.

Web links

Commons : Ehm Welk  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Horst Dieter Schlosser (Ed.): Dtv-Atlas for German literature. Boards and texts. 6th edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 1994 (1st edition 1983), ISBN 3-423-03219-7 , pp. 260-263.
  3. a b c Bernd-Rainer BarthWelk, Ehm . In: Who was who in the GDR? 5th edition. Volume 2. Ch. Links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4 .
  4. ^ A b c d Ehm Welk Friends of Ehm Welk eV: Ehm Welk life data
  5. ^ City of Angermünde: City history
  6. ^ Ehm Welk Friends of Ehm Welk eV: Working in Bad Doberan