Fritz J. Raddatz

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Fritz J. Raddatz (2003)

Fritz Joachim Raddatz (born September 3, 1931 in Berlin ; † February 26, 2015 in Pfäffikon ZH , Switzerland) was a German columnist , essayist , biographer and novelist .


Fritz Joachim Raddatz's mother Alice, a “Parisian from a rich family”, died when he was born. The father was a “not unknown” man whom he later knew by name and whom he did not want to name for this reason. His stepfather was a member of Richthofen's squadron during the First World War and a member of the board of directors of the UFA film company during the Weimar Republic . Raddatz described him as aggressive and brutal, blamed him for physical abuse in his childhood and the induction of forced sex with his stepmother Irmgard.

When the stepfather died in 1946, he and his sister initially received French passports, but then the 31-year-old Protestant theologian Hans-Joachim Mund took over his guardianship. This began with the fifteen-year-old Raddatz - according to his description - an affair. Raddatz passed his Abitur at the Askanische Oberschule in Berlin-Tempelhof. Like his guardian, Raddatz went to East Berlin in 1950 out of political conviction . There he studied German , history , theater studies , art history and American studies and passed his state examination at the Humboldt University in Berlin in 1953 . In 1958 the doctorate followed .

As a twenty year old Raddatz wrote for the Berliner Zeitung . From 1953 to 1958 he was head of the foreign department and deputy editor- in- chief at the publishing house “ Volk und Welt ” in East Berlin . After long conflicts with government and party authorities in the GDR , he moved to the Federal Republic in 1958. In 1971 he completed his habilitation under Hans Mayer at the University of Hanover .

In 1960 he became editor-in-chief and deputy publishing director of Rowohlt Verlag under Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt and editor of the paperback series rororo-aktuell. In 1969 he had to give up this function due to the so-called "balloon affair", the dropping of 50,000 copies of the memoirs of Yevgenia Ginsburg printed on behalf of Rowohlt over the territory of the GDR. From 1976 he was head of the feature pages of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit . In 1985 he left this post after using false quotations from Goethe in an editorial, but continued to work as a cultural correspondent for this newspaper. The wrong quote was noticed because he did not take it from Goethe's works, but from a gloss in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (which was a satirical contribution).

Raddatz edited Kurt Tucholsky's Collected Works in 10 volumes (Hamburg 1975) with Mary Gerold -Tucholsky .

On the basis of the diaries he has kept since 1982, he published the troublemaker's commemorative volume in 2003 ; the diaries themselves were edited in 2010 and 2014.

Raddatz was considered one of the most influential German literary critics; According to Hellmuth Karasek, his diaries are a panopticon of the West and East German publishing and authoring scene after 1945. In addition to his journalistic work, he published a large number of essays, novels and biographies.

He was openly bisexual, by his own admission, mostly with male partners, and lived in Hamburg with his partner Gerd Bruns for more than 30 years, 13 of them in a registered partnership .

In September 2014, Raddatz announced that he wanted to withdraw from active journalism. The reason for this is that he no longer feels up to date. The current poetry and the contemporary novels are no longer interesting for him and, above all, no longer lovable.

Raddatz 'grave in Keitum on Sylt

To his long-time friend Arno Widmann , he said: “At some point there has to be an end”. Raddatz wanted to determine the end of his life himself. He had long been a believer in assisted suicide and considered it a worthy way to end life. It was important to him: "Not to wait until the stroke comes, to sink into a strange darkness into which no one can penetrate". So Raddatz chose accompanied suicide, which is legal in Switzerland. He died on February 26, 2015, the day before his last book, Years With Single, was published. A memory in Dignitas' “death house” on the banks of the Pfäffikersee . His grave is in the Keitum cemetery on Sylt , where he had bought the grave site and the tombstone years before his death.

Functions and memberships

Fritz J. Raddatz was chairman of the Kurt Tucholsky Foundation , member of the PEN Center Germany and the Hamburg Free Academy of Arts .


François Mitterrand awarded him the Order of Officier des Arts et des Lettres . In 2010 Raddatz received the Hildegard von Bingen Prize for Journalism .

Works (selection)

Fritz J. Raddatz (2012)
  • Herder's conception of literature, presented in his early writings , 1958 (Phil. Diss. Humboldt University of Berlin)
  • Traditions and tendencies. Materials on the literature of the GDR . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1972, ISBN 3-518-03995-4 (also Habil. -schrift TU Hannover 1971)
  • Georg Lukács in personal testimonies and photo documents . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1972, ISBN 3-499-50193-7
  • Karl Marx. A political biography . Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1975, ISBN 3-455-06010-2
  • Heinrich Heine. A German fairy tale. Essay . Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1977, ISBN 3-455-06011-0
  • Revolt and melancholy. Essays on literary theory . Knaus, Hamburg 1979, ISBN 3-8135-2543-0
  • Of mind and money. Heinrich Heine and his uncle, the banker Salomon. A sketch . With six etchings by Günter Grass . Bund, Cologne 1980, ISBN 3-7663-0631-6
  • Eros and death. Literary portraits . Knaus, Hamburg 1980, ISBN 3-8135-2555-4
  • Pyrenees trip in autumn. In the footsteps of Kurt Tucholsky . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1985, ISBN 3-498-05705-7
  • The later born. Reading experiences with contemporary literature . S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1983, ISBN 3-10-062802-0
  • Liar by profession. In the footsteps of William Faulkner . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1987, ISBN 3-498-05711-1
  • Mind and Power: Essays 1, Polemics, Glosses and Profiles. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1989, ISBN 3-499-18551-2
  • The Rhine is deeper than ever. What role does contemporary French literature play in Germany? In Verena von der Heyden-Rynsch, ed .: Vive la littérature! Contemporary French literature. Hanser, Munich 1989 ISBN 3446157271 pp. 273-276
  • Tucholsky, a pseudonym. Essay . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1989, ISBN 3-498-05706-5
  • Dove heart and vulture beak. Heinrich Heine. A biography . Beltz, Weinheim 1997, ISBN 3-88679-288-9
  • I thought you different. Narration . Arche, Zurich 2001, ISBN 3-7160-2287-X
  • Gottfried Benn. Life - lower delusion. A biography . Propylaea, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-549-07145-0
  • Günter Grass. Relentless friends. A critic. One author . Arche, Zurich 2002, ISBN 3-7160-2308-6
  • Literary cross-border commuters. Seven essays . List, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-548-60220-7
  • Troublemaker. Memories . Propylaea, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-549-07198-1
  • An education in Germany. Trilogy . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2006, ISBN 3-498-05778-2 (contains: Kuhauge (1984); The Cloud Drinker (1987); The Abortion (1991))
  • Dear Fritzchen, dear Gross-Uwe. The correspondence (with Uwe Johnson). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-518-41839-4
  • To write is to wash your heart. Literary essays . To Klampen, Springe 2006, ISBN 3-934920-95-0
  • My Sylt . Photos by Karin Székessy . Mare, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-936384-26-6
  • The red of the freedom sun became blood. Literary essays . To Klampen, Springe 2007, ISBN 978-3-86674-013-6
  • Rainer Maria Rilke. Surplus existence. A biography . Arche, Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-7160-2606-9
  • Nice - mon amour . Arche, Zurich 2010, ISBN 978-3-7160-2636-6
  • Diaries 1982-2001 . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2010, ISBN 978-3-498-05781-7
  • Tucholsky: A Biographical Snapshot. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-06238-4
  • Bestiary of German Literature . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2012, ISBN 978-3-498-05793-0
  • Diaries 2002–2012 . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2014, ISBN 978-3-498-05797-8 .
  • Steel engravings: 33 objections from 35 years. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2013, ISBN 978-3-498-05796-1
  • Years with Single: A Memory . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2015, ISBN 978-3-498-05798-5

Web links

Commons : Fritz J. Raddatz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Sven Michaelsen: There were too many wounds - sex with the stepmother, fights with Grass: the journalist Fritz Raddatz has published new diaries - and shares them out like never before., April 4, 2014, accessed on July 3, 2014 .
  2. 3sat, December 6, 2010: Interview video Fritz J. Raddatz led by Peter Voß , series Peter Voß asks ...
  3. Raddatz called her (diary note in The Golden Park, Nice, May 5, 2005) the “snail” and mentions her life and death as follows: “A black lightning bolt has torn what seemed to be lazy, sunny, dozed days without an appointment was planned in the neck and without other troubles ... My sister, the snail, the beloved madwoman and dissolute lover, is dead. The day after my arrival came the call (...): the funeral in a Buddhist temple in Bangkok. From Tempelhof to the temple in Thailand - what an arc of life, how much confusion, how much hunt for happiness, how much impatience and how much shoddy ungovernment character (s) shaped this life. (...) But I loved her - and she only goes to the grave when I have to go into mine; because by then it will be present in me. ”, in: Fritz J. Raddatz: Diaries. Years 2002–2012.
  4. ^ "Dear Fritz" - "Dear Gross-Uwe". Uwe Johnson - Fritz J. Raddatz, the correspondence, ed. by Erdmut Wizisla. Frankfurt a. M. 2006. p. 193.
  5. a b "There is nothing more in a life than in my life" ,
  6. a b Berliner Zeitung , September 29, 2003: Fritz J. Raddatz's memories are egomaniacal and crazy, but that is precisely why they are great
  7. Dieter E. Zimmer : The Rowohlt affair ,, quoted from: DIE ZEIT / Feuilleton, No. 39, September 26, 1969, pp. 16-17, title: Does the revolution eat its publishers?
  8. ^ Rowohlt Archive, 1969: Balloon and other affairs ( Memento from November 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Peter Mohr: Crossing Borders In the title culture magazine of February 26, 2015, accessed on July 25, 2018.
  10. Literature: Fritz J. Raddatz is dead. In: Zeit Online. February 26, 2015, accessed March 7, 2015 .
  11. Article: [1] Der Spiegel 42/1985 October 14, 1985
  12. Everything about the Fritz J. Raddatz Festival Weeks , Friday, December 2013
  15. September 15, 2010: Hellmuth Karasek settles accounts with Fritz J. Raddatz .
  16. Sven Michaelsen: There were too many wounds - page 2: Everything a bit mannered, if you will. Others may be using heroin., April 4, 2014, accessed on July 3, 2014 .
  17. ^ Fritz J. Raddatz: Fritz J. Raddatz says goodbye to journalism. Die Welt, September 19, 2014, accessed on September 21, 2014 .
  18. ^ Theo Sommer: Fritz J. Raddatz: A genius and provocateur. In: Zeit Online. February 26, 2015, accessed March 6, 2015 .
  19. I still tried to hold it obituary by Rolf Hochhuth in: Die Welt from February 27, 2015.
  20. ^ Fritz J. Raddatz: Diaries 1982-2001. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2010, p. 11, 376
  21. Original article
  22. Alexander Cammann: How do you walk off? A great lament: Fritz J. Raddatz's diaries from 2002 to 2012 are astute, funny and touching. . The time. March 20, 2014. Accessed March 21, 2014.