Finks war

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Fink's War is a roman à clef of the writer Martin Walser . It was published by Suhrkamp Verlag in 1996 and was later translated into French , Spanish and Turkish .


Walser's novel is based on the so-called Gauland affair from the 1980 / 90s in Hesse. The writer was acquainted with the ministerial official Rudolf Wirtz . He collected the material on the case in which he was himself involved in around 50 files. Walser then devoted six years to developing the novel and published it in 1996 by Suhrkamp Verlag.


The novel is about a ministerial councilor named Stefan Fink, who has to vacate his position as church coordinator after the state elections in Hesse . Fink countered the transfer by State Secretary Tronkenburg with a rival complaint . This reveals that dignitaries of the Catholic Church have dropped him. Fink resists until he is finally rehabilitated . His partial success is not enough for him, however, because he longs for revenge by trying to convict Tronkenburg of perjury . His bitter attempt ends in increasing isolation . In the end he visits a monastery .


Below are the most important characters in the novel, some of which are real people:

Fictional character Real name function
Stefan Fink Rudolf Wirtz Senior Ministerial Councilor
Tronkenburg Alexander Gauland Head of the Hessian State Chancellery
Schmetternich Hans Joachim Suchan Head of the Hessian State Chancellery (successor)
Franz Kamphaus Franz Kamphaus Bishop of Limburg
Joseph Fischer Joseph Fischer Green politician
Werner Böckenförde Werner Böckenförde Limburg cathedral capitular, canon lawyer
Ignatz Bubis Ignatz Bubis Chairman of the Frankfurt Jewish Community
Max Willner Max Willner Chairman of the Jewish communities in Hesse
Franz Karl Moor - Best friend Finks

References in literature

Walser leaned on the novella Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich von Kleist (Stefan Fink and Tronkenburg). In addition, allusions to the story The Doppelganger by Fyodor Dostojewski are pointed out in the literature .

Further reception

The publication of the novel was accompanied by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). According to observers, she tried early on to disguise the real story behind Fink's war . This should make the reader curious . Contrary to the original guideline of the FAZ co-editor Frank Schirrmacher , the newspaper later presented the names of the people involved.

The publicist and former State Secretary Alexander Gauland , one of the protagonists of the novel, reviewed the book while it was being published in the FAZ ( I was Tronkenburg ) and held it against Martin Walser's ignorance of the conditions in Frankfurt and Wiesbaden. The granted self-review was sharply criticized by the editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit , Robert Leicht .

The book was on the bestseller lists of Spiegel (May to June) and Focus (April to June) in 1996 and was featured in all supraregional German feuilletons, but also among others. a. discussed in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung , in the Times Literary Supplement and in World Literature Today .



  • In French by Michel Cadot: La guerre de Fink: roman . Hachette Littératures, Paris 1998, ISBN 2-01-235316-9 .
  • Into Spanish by Daniel Najmías: La guerra de Fink (= Palabra en el tiempo . 285). Ed. Lumen, Barcelona 2000, ISBN 84-264-1285-8 .
  • Into Turkish by Sibel Aslan Yeşilay: Fink'in savaşı: roman (= Çağdaş thinya yazarları ). Can Yayınları, İstanbul 2001, ISBN 975-510-857-2 .


Analysis / Background



Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Martin Walser: Finks War . In: Norbert Bachleitner : A short history of the German feuilleton novel (= fool study books ). Narr, Tübingen 1999, ISBN 3-8233-4972-4 , p. 173 ff.
  2. Verena Auffermann : Thick, nasty soup . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , March 4, 1996, p. 12.
  3. Adolf Kühn: Who is who at Walser? . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung , March 3, 1996, No. 9, p. 3.
  4. Heinrich Halbig: The lost honor of Rudolf Wirtz . In: Stuttgarter Zeitung , March 8, 1996.
  5. Michel Cadot : Finks War by Martin Walser. A metamophosis of Dostojevskij's doppelganger . In: Horst-Jürgen Gerigk (Ed.): Literary avant-garde. Festschrift for Rudolf Neuhäuser . Mattes, Heidelberg 2001, ISBN 3-930978-14-8 , p. 29 ff.
  6. Robert Leicht : The case on which "Finks War" is based . In: Die Zeit , 13/1996, March 22, 1996.
  7. bestseller . In: Focus , April 22, 1996, issue 17, p. 156; Bestseller . In: Focus , April 29, 1996, issue 18, p. 149; Bestseller . In: Focus , May 6, 1996, issue 19, p. 122; Bestseller . In: Focus , May 13, 1996, issue 20, p. 151; Bestseller . In: Focus , May 20, 1996, issue 21, p. 114; Bestseller . In: Focus , May 25, 1996, issue 22, p. 108; Bestseller . In: Focus , June 3, 1996, issue 23, p. 126; Bestseller . In: Focus , June 10, 1996, issue 24, p. 112; Bestseller . In: Focus , June 17, 1996, issue 25, p. 123; Bestseller . In: Focus , June 24, 1996, issue 26, p. 116; Bestseller . In: Der Spiegel , May 6, 1996, No. 19, p. 210; Bestseller . In: Der Spiegel , May 20, 1996, No. 21, p. 228; Bestseller . In: Der Spiegel , May 27, 1996, No. 22, p. 210; Bestseller . In: Der Spiegel , June 3, 1996, No. 23, p. 220; Bestseller . In: Der Spiegel , June 10, 1996, No. 24, p. 196.