Gerhard Roth (Author)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gerhard Roth 2012

Gerhard Roth (born June 24, 1942 in GrazFebruary 8, 2022 ) was an Austrian writer .


Gerhard Roth was born on June 24, 1942 as the second child of the doctor Emil Roth (1912-1995) and the nursing student Erna Druschnitz (1917-1998) in Graz. The Roths' home was bombed in 1945, resulting in sixteen fatalities. The mother had previously fled to Germany with her three sons Paul (1941-2001), Gerhard and Helmut (* 1944), where her husband worked in a military hospital in Würzburg . After the end of World War II, the family returned to Graz. Gerhard Roth attended the Kepler-Realgymnasium from 1952 and the Lichtenfels-Gymnasium from 1955 , where he graduated from high school in 1961 . From childhood he was friends with the painter Peter Pongratz . In 1962 he joined theForum Stadtpark in two plays by Wolfgang Bauer , whom he knew from school, as an actor.

Gerhard Roth began studying medicine at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz . In 1963 he married Erika Wolfgruber (* 1939), with whom he had three children. In 1967 he broke off his studies and began working as an organizational manager at the data center in Graz, after initially being an operator there and then, from 1970, an organizer. In 1971, together with Bernhard Lernpeiss, he published an introduction to electronic data processing . In 1972 he became a member of the Forum Stadtpark after his first literary book was published in the same year. His acquaintances with Gerhard Rühm , HC Artmann and Peter Handke , with whom he became friends, date from this time . In 1972 he traveled to the USA together with Wolfgang Bauer and a year later together with Alfred Kolleritsch . The third trip to North America followed in 1975 and the fourth in 1978 on the occasion of the film adaptation of his novel The Great Horizon (1974) and the author's portrait I was addicted to pictures (1979). In 1976 he separated from his wife and moved to Obergreith in southern Styria with his future wife Senta Thonhauser (whom he married in 1995) as a freelance writer. Here he became involved in the construction of the Greith House . From 1973 to 1978 he was a member of the Graz Authors' Assembly . In 1977 he left the data center in Graz and switched from the Suhrkamp publishing house to the S. Fischer publishing house , which has been in charge of his work ever since.

In 1979 he went to Hamburg as part of the funding program "Foreign Artists to Visit Hamburg". In 1980 (his) photographs for the novel Der Stille Ozean were exhibited for the first time in the Kulturhaus Graz. Gerhard Roth had been friends with Günter Brus since 1982 , who later illustrated some of his books. Since 1986 he lived alternately in Vienna and in Kopreinigg in southern Styria as a summer residence.

As a narrator, playwright and essayist, Gerhard Roth repeatedly spoke out critically about Austria's past and political present. From 1978 he worked on the seven-volume cycle The Archives of Silence , set in southern Styria and Vienna, which he completed in 1991. Image-text compositions were created with the photographer Franz Killmeyer . From 1993 he worked on the Orkus cycle , which was completed in 2011. This work by Roth in particular has been praised as “prose that draws attention” ( Andreas Dorschel ) because of its “constant diligence in perceiving and formulating”.

In 2001, the province of Styria bought Gerhard Roth's literary and photographic legacy, which is located in the Franz Nabl Institute for Literary Research.

Gerhard Roth is the father of director Thomas Roth .

At the general assembly of SK Sturm Graz on January 18, 2016, he was appointed honorary ambassador of SK Sturm Graz together with comedian and cabaret artist Gernot Kulis and musician Manfred "Cook" Koch from Egon7 .

Gerhard Roth died in Graz on the evening of February 8, 2022 as a result of a serious illness.



Gerhard Roth's novel cycles at a glance

Gerhard Roth described himself as "obsessed with writing in the best sense of the word". At the center of many of his novels is the vainly struggling hero, to whom the world appears to be an agonizing and untenable state. The author often dresses his works in the form of a crime novel, which is typical of the genre, although he is concerned with “uncovering” what is hidden in a figurative sense. The focus of the two novel cycles The Archives of Silence (1980-1991) and Orkus (1995-2011) is the narrated and documented coming to terms with the past from a general point of view and contemporary Austrian history from a particular perspective.

Gerhard Roth as screenwriter

In 1979 Gerhard Roth wrote screenplays for the three-part documentary film "People in Austria", which he directed with Ingrid Melzer. In 1982, together with Walter Kappacher, Roth and Walter Kappacher adapted one of his novels for the first time for director and cameraman Xaver Schwarzenberger . The film adaptation of the second volume of the Archives of Silence was awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1983 . In 1990, the two- parter Rural Death was filmed, directed by Michael Schottenberg . In 1992 Roth wrote "The Secret", the screenplay was again directed by Michael Schottenberg. This was followed in 1994 by the award-winning TV film Business , another Roth and Schottenberg collaboration. In 1995, the director Jan Schütte was commissioned by the ORF to produce Eine Reise in das Innere von Wien , for which the television version received the Romy for best camera. Gerhard Roth's son Thomas Roth directed Schnellschuss in 1995 and the 1997 sequel to this Roth film entitled Im Kreuzfeuer . Also in 1997, another Roth/Roth collaboration came to Austrian cinemas with the cinema version of the novel Der See . In 2001, the novel A dog came into the kitchen was filmed from a screenplay by Gerhard Roth, directed by Xaver Schwarzenberger.


  • photo books
    • borderland . A documentary protocol (German/English). Hannibal, Vienna 1981.
    • The Photo Notebooks . Edited by Robert Weichinger. Springer Verlag, Vienna/New York 1995, ISBN 3-211-82700-5 .
    • Atlas of Silence . Photographs from southern Styria from 1976-2006. Edited by Daniela Bartens and Martin Behr. Brandstätter, Vienna 2007, ISBN 978-3-85033-026-8 .
    • In invisible Vienna . Photographs from Vienna from 1986-2009. With 826 illustrations. Edited by Daniela Bartens and Martin Behr. Brandstätter, Vienna/Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-85033-307-8 .
    • Over Land and Sea . Photographs from three continents from 1995-2011. With 1075 illustrations. Edited by Daniela Bartens and Martin Behr. Brandstätter, Vienna/Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-85033-311-5 .
    • In the maze of images . The Gugging Artists. Edited by Daniela Bartens and Martin Behr. Residence, St. Pölten/Salzburg/Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-7017-3272-2 .
    • tracks . From the photographs from 2007 to 2017. Edited by Daniela Bartens and Martin Behr. Residence, Salzburg/Vienna 2017, ISBN 978-3-7017-3424-5 .
    • Venice . A reflection of humanity. Edited by Daniela Bartens and Martin Behr. Brandstätter, Vienna 2020, ISBN 978-3-71060-450-8 .
  • The Archives of Silence . novel cycle
    • Volume I: In deep Austria. caption volume. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1990, ISBN 3-10-066044-7 .
    • Volume II: The Pacific Ocean. Novel. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-10-066604-6 .
    • Volume III: Common Death. Novel. Cover drawing and illustration by Günter Brus. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 3-10-066605-4 .
    • Volume IV: On the Abyss. Novel. Cover drawing and illustration by Günter Brus. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-10-066607-0 .
    • Volume V: The Coroner. The history of a design. Novel. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-10-066608-9 .
    • Volume VI: The Story of Darkness. A report. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1991, ISBN 3-10-066046-3 .
    • Volume VII: A journey into the heart of Vienna. essays. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1991, ISBN 3-10-066045-5 .
  • Stories, essays and supplements
    • Mr Coat and Mr Shirt . With pictures by Ida Szigethy. (Picture book). Insel, Frankfurt am Main 1974.
    • People, Images, Puppets . Prose, short novels, plays. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1979, ISBN 3-10-066602-X .
    • Circus Saluti . S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1981, ISBN 3-596-22321-0 (Collection S. Fischer Volume 21)
    • Bruno Kreisky . With photographs by Konrad B. Müller. Nicolai, Berlin 1981.
    • The beautiful pictures of the trotting race . anthology. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1982, ISBN 3-596-25400-0 .
    • Killing the Buzzard . Droschl, Graz 1982, ISBN 3-85420-034-X .
    • Village Chronicle on "Common Death" . S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 3-596-22340-7 (Collection S. Fischer Volume 40)
    • The double-headed Austria . Essays, polemics and interviews. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-596-12914-1 .
    • Gsellmann's World Machine . With photographs by Franz Killmeyer. Böhlau, Vienna/ Cologne/ Weimar 2002, ISBN 3-205-98507-9 . (First youth and people, Vienna 1986)
    • About Bees . (German Japanese). With photographs by Franz Killmeyer. Youth and people, Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-224-17617-2 (First: youth and people, Vienna 1989)
    • image language . Austrian painting after 1945. Youth and people, Vienna 1992, ISBN 3-224-16702-5 . (First: Youth and People, Vienna 1990)
  • plays
    • Lichtenberg. (1973). In: Gerhard Roth: people, images, marionettes. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer 1979, ISBN 3-10-066602-X .
    • Longing. (1977). Schauspielhaus Graz (as part of the Steirischer Herbst festival ) 1977, director: Wolfgang Bauer. In: Gerhard Roth: people, images, marionettes. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer 1979, ISBN 3-10-066602-X .
    • Dusk. (1978). In: Gerhard Roth: people, images, marionettes. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer 1979, ISBN 3-10-066602-X .
    • Memories of Humanity . Stage design and costume designs by Günter Brus. Droschl, Graz 1985, ISBN 3-85420-075-7 .
    • Franz Lindner and himself. (1987). Berlin Festival. play market. Berlin 1987.
    • Stranger in Vienna. (1993). Schauspielhaus Graz (as part of the steirischer herbst festival ) 1993.
  • films and film adaptations
    • people in Austria. 3 documentaries, directed by Ingrid Melzer 1979.
    • The Pacific Ocean . Director: Xaver Schwarzenberger, 1982.
    • Common Death. Part 1: microcosm. Part 2: At the abyss. Directed by Michael Schottenberg.
    • The Secret . Directed by Michael Schottenberg, 1992.
    • shops . Directed by Michael Schottenberg, 1994.
    • A journey into the heart of Vienna . Director: Jan Schutte, 1995.
    • quick shot . Directed by Thomas Roth, 1995.
    • crossfire . Directed by Thomas Roth, 1996.
    • the lake . Directed by Thomas Roth, 1997.
    • A dog came into the kitchen . Director: Xaver Schwarzenberger, 2001.


  • Uwe Wittstock (ed.): Materials on the archives of silence. Information and materials on the literature. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-596-11274-5 .
  • Peter Ensberg, Helga Schreckenberger: Gerhard Roth. Art as rebellion against being. Stauffenburg, Tübingen 1994, ISBN 3-86057-131-1 .
  • Marianne Baltl, Christian marriage driver (ed.): Gerhard Roth. Dossier. Droschl, Graz 2005, ISBN 3-85420-407-8 .
  • Günther Fischer (Editor): Gerhard Roth. text and criticism, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-88377-503-7 .
  • Kristina Pfoser-Schewig (ed.): The two-headed Austria. Essays, polemics and interviews by Gerhard Roth. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-596-12914-1 .
  • Simon RyanGerhard Roth. A bibliography. Work and reception 1966-1994. University of Otago, New Zealand 1995, ISBN 0-9597650-8-5 .
  • Wolfgang Tietze: The Microscopic Thought Glass. Myths and Techniques of Authorship - A Commentary on the Work of Gerhard Roth. Fink, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-7705-3014-4 .
  • Robert Weichinger (ed.): The photo notebooks. Springer, Vienna/ New York 1995, ISBN 3-211-82700-5 .
  • Uwe Schütte: On the trail of the forgotten - Gerhard Roth and his archives of silence. Böhlau, Vienna/ Cologne/ Weimar 1997, ISBN 3-205-98712-8 .
  • Daniela Bartens, Gerhard Melzer (ed.): Gerhard Roth - Orcus. In the shadowy realm of signs. Springer, Vienna/ New York 2003, ISBN 3-211-00648-6 .
  • Joanna Drynda: Beautiful appearance, unclear being. Poetics of Austria criticism in the work of Gerhard Roth and Josef Haslinger. Ruy Studio, Poznań 2003, ISBN 83-88856-26-X .
  • Jürgen Hosemann (ed.): The time, the silence and the dead. On the work of Gerhard Roth. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-596-19006-5 .
  • Gerald Lind: The memory of the microcosm. Gerhard Roth's Common Death and The Archives of Silence. Francke, Tübingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-7720-8366-2 .
  • Uwe Schutte: Underworlds . On the life and work of Gerhard Roth. Residence, St. Pölten 2013, ISBN 978-3-7017-1593-0 .


  1. a b "Gerhard Roth died at the age of 79" in from February 8, 2022 (retrieved on February 8, 2022)
  2. Andreas Dorschel, 'Prose of attention' [2009], in: Jürgen Hosemann (ed.): The time, the silence and the dead. On the work of Gerhard Roth. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2011, pp. 258–261
  3. HARMONIC GENERAL ASSEMBLY WITH STRONG STORM SPIRIT ( Memento of January 22, 2016 at web archive ), accessed January 22, 2016.
  4. - Grand Austrian State Prize to Gerhard Roth . Article of 4 March 2016, accessed 4 March 2016.

web links

Wikiquote: Gerhard Roth  – Quotations
Commons : Gerhard Roth  - Collection of images, videos and audio files