Georg Hermann

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Georg Hermann with his wife, 1908. Photo by Marta Wolff.
Portrait of Georg Hermann, artist: Hermann Struck

Georg Hermann , actually Georg Hermann Borchardt (born October 7, 1871 in Berlin ; died November 19, 1943 in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp ) was a German writer and a Jewish victim of the Holocaust .


Family and youth

Georg Hermann was born in Berlin in 1871 as the youngest of six children of a long-established Jewish family named Georg Borchardt . The chosen name Hermann was the first name of his father, "whose life and death was the hard life and bitter death of the hopelessly defeated." He should bring the father's name back to honor - so Georg Hermann when choosing his pseudonym.

The Egyptologist and archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt was his brother. Georg Hermann worked as a commercial apprentice and from 1896 to 1899 attended literary, art history and philosophical lectures at the University of Berlin. He later worked at the Berlin Statistical Office and wrote for forty newspapers and magazines, mainly for the Ullstein publishing house .


Georg Hermann was a widely read writer in the first third of the 20th century. His literary role model was Theodor Fontane , which earned him the name "Jewish Fontane". The novels Jettchen Gebert and Henriette Jacoby , which are set in Berlin in 1839/40 and paint a picture of the liberal spirit of that time in a Jewish family, were bestsellers at the time and together had more than 260 editions. His other novels did not achieve the same popularity.

Georg Hermann was a co-founder in 1909 and first chairman of the Association of German Writers from 1910–1913 , to which almost all prominent German-language writers soon joined.

Hermann moved the First World War to before the outbreak Neckargemünd .

Persecution and exile

Memorial plaque on the house at Kreuznacher Str. 28 in the Berlin artists' colony

Constantly threatened by the National Socialists, Hermann decided to leave Germany after the Reichstag fire in 1933. He went into exile in Holland with his two youngest daughters and his divorced wife . Georg Hermann's works were on the “black list” and were burned up in the book burnings in May 1933. In exile, under difficult economic conditions, Hermann wrote Die Zeit dies and three other novels.

After the occupation by the German Wehrmacht , he was forced to move from his place of residence in Hilversum to Amsterdam in early 1943 . From Amsterdam, Hermann was deported with his daughter from his second marriage, Ursula, and her son Michael to the Westerbork transit camp and, on November 16, 1943, to the Auschwitz concentration camp without daughter and grandchildren . The transport with 995 "Jews from the Westerbork camp" - 166 children, 281 men and 291 women up to 50 years of age as well as 257 elderly people - reached Auschwitz-Birkenau on November 17, 1943. Immediately after the selection at the "Alte Rampe" 531 people from this transport, including 72-year-old Georg Hermann, were killed in the gas chambers. The date of his death so far is November 19, 1943.

Memorial stone and street name

Memorial stone in the Georg Hermann Garden

The park-like Georg Hermann Garden in Berlin-Friedenau is dedicated to the writer . This garden was inaugurated as a memorial in 1962. In his novel The Little Guest from 1925, Hermann lovingly described his former home, Friedenau, as an idyllic garden district and the “Eldorado of clay dwarfs”. The entrances to the garden are at Goßlerstrasse 24–25 and at Stubenrauchstrasse 6. The access at Bundesallee  79–81 now only leads to the Pestalozzi-Fröbel-Haus daycare center . A memorial stone for Georg Hermann has been set up in the garden, which is somewhat hidden on the fenced-in daycare playground. The memorial stone incorrectly names 1944 as the year of Hermann's death instead of 1943. In Potsdam, Georg-Hermann-Allee is named after him.


Novels / short stories

  • Play Children , 1896
  • Models , 1897
  • The future-happy , 1898
  • From the last house , 1900
  • Jettchen Gebert 's story , 1906–1909 (120th edition 1927), filmed as Jettchen Gebert 's story, part 1: Jettchen Gebert 1918
  • Henriette Jacoby , 1908, filmed as Jettchen Gebert's story 2nd part: Henriette Jacoby 1918
  • Kubinke , 1910 (The story of a Berlin hairdresser, 18th edition 1922; last as the 414th volume of the Other Library : Georg Hermann: Kubinke . With an afterword by Lothar Müller , Berlin, Die Other Bibliothek 2019, ISBN 978-3-8477 -0414-0 .)
  • From the good old days , 1911
  • The Night of Doctor Herzfeld , 1912 (19th edition 1922)
  • Heinrich Schön jr. , 1915 (26th edition 1922)
  • On the secured and unsecured life , 1915 (5th edition 1922)
  • The peep box , 1916
  • For one summer , 4th edition, 1917
  • Little experiences , 1920
  • Snow , 1921 (about the world war)
  • The steep stairs , 1925
  • The small inn . 1925
  • Walk in Potsdam , 1926
  • Tears for Modesta Zamboni , 1927
  • Dreams of Ellen Stein , 1929
  • Grenadier Wordelmann , 1930
  • November 18 , 1930
  • The Book of Ruth , 1931
  • Ruth's hard hour , Amsterdam 1934
  • Rosenemil , 1935 (filmed in 1993, ZDF)
  • The Etruscan mirror . Drawings by Charles Eyck, Menno Hertzberger Verlag, Amsterdam 1936. Charles Eyck was a well-known artist in the Netherlands.
  • For gentlemen only , 1949


  • The libertine , 1911
  • Mrs. Antonie , 1917
  • My neighbor ant , 1918


  • The German caricature in the 19th century , 1901
  • Wilhelm Busch , Berlin 1902
  • Sketches and silhouettes , Darmstadt 1902
  • Moritz Coschell , Berlin 1904
  • Max Liebermann , Berlin 1904
  • The Chain , 1917–1934 (five-volume presentation of Jewish life in Germany from 1899–1923)
  • Marginal Notes , 1919 (Political Commentaries, 3rd ed. 1920)
  • Der doppelte Spiegel , Berlin 1926 (polemical work on the Jewish problem in Germany)
  • A Time Dies , 1933 (autobiographical)
  • MB, the unknown pedestrian , 1935 (autobiographical)
  • World Farewell , 1935 (essay, reflections on his own Judaism)

Work editions

  • Georg Hermann. Collected Works . Berlin and Leipzig, 1922 (5 volumes).
  • Absent and dumb, but still talking to people. Letters from exile 1933-1941 to his daughter Hilde. With an essay: World Farewell to Hilde Borchardt. Ed. And editorial afterword: Laureen Nussbaum . Mannheim: persona, 1991
  • Gert Mattenklott , Gundel Mattenklott (Ed.): Georg Hermann. Works and letters in 21 volumes . Verlag Das Neue Berlin, Berlin 1996 to 2001 (10 volumes published)

Editorial activity

  • The Biedermeier period as reflected in its time , letters, diaries, memoirs, folk scenes and similar documents, Berlin 1913.


  • Felix Eberty : Youth memories of an old Berliner , Berlin 1925

Journal articles (selection)

In: The Socialist Doctor

  • Votes against § 218. 7th year (1931), issue 4 (April), p. 103 digitized



Web links

Notes and individual references

  1. John F. Oppenheimer (Red.) And a .: Lexicon of Judaism. 2nd Edition. Bertelsmann Lexikon Verlag, Gütersloh u. a. 1971, ISBN 3-570-05964-2 , col. 285.
  2. ^ A not very successful merchant who went bankrupt in 1875
  3. Tilman Krause: Finally Fontane's little brother is back again Die Welt , June 29, 2019.
  4. ^ Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands.
  5. Cf. Danuta Czech: Calendar of events in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp 1939-1945 , Reinbek bei Hamburg, Rowohlt 1989, p. 656.
  6. Federal Archives 2007: Memorial Book - Victims of the Persecution of Jews under the National Socialist Tyranny in Germany 1933–1945
  7. The Biedermeier as reflected in its time: Letters, diaries, memoirs, folk scenes and similar documents: Borchardt, Georg Hermann, 1871-: Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming. kellylibrary toronto, November 25, 2008, accessed on August 27, 2020 .