Gorch Fock (writer)

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Gorch Fock 1916
Gorch Fock's parental home in Hamburg-Finkenwerder
Memorial plaque in front of the Gorch Focks family home
Gorch Focks grave on Stensholmen Island

Gorch Fock (born August 22, 1880 in Finkenwerder ; † May 31, 1916 in the Battle of the Skagerrak ; actually Johann Wilhelm Kinau ) was a German writer . In 1917 the outpost boat Gorch Fock was named after him, later two sailing training ships of the German Navy, the Gorch Fock built in 1933 and the Gorch Fock built in 1958 . Other pseudonyms of the author are Jakob Holst and Giorgio Focco .


Johann Wilhelm Kinau was the first of six children of the deep sea fisherman Heinrich Wilhelm Kinau and his wife Metta, b. Holst, born on the Hamburg part of the former Elbe island Finkenwerder . He had two brothers, Jakob Kinau and Rudolf Kinau , who have gained their own importance as Low German authors and local poets. Johann Wilhelm Kinau also went to school in Finkenwerder. After getting seasick on the first trip with his father, who worked as a deep-sea fisherman , in 1895 he began a commercial apprenticeship with his uncle August Kinau in Geestemünde (now part of Bremerhaven ). 1897 to 1898 he graduated from the commercial school in Bremerhaven. From 1899 he held various brief positions as an accountant and clerk in Meiningen , Bremen and Halle (Saale) . His numerous visits to the court theater in Meiningen inspired him to write. In 1904 he returned to Hamburg and worked for the central purchasing company of German colonial goods dealers until he became an accountant for the Hamburg-America Line in 1907 .

Since 1904, he has published numerous mostly in his native language , a wide finches will step Platt German , wrote poems and stories under the pseudonyms Gorch Fock , Jakob Holst and Giorgio Focco that appeared in the Hamburg newspapers. The first name Gorch is therefore a local variant of Georg . Fock is borrowed from a line of grandparent ancestors.

In 1908 he married Rosa Elisabeth Reich, with whom he had three children. “The man's best comrade is his comrade”. His muse and soul mate, however, was the actress Aline Bussmann during his writing years .

In 1913 his best-known work was published, the High German novel with a Low German dialogue “ Seafaring is not! “, In which the life of the deep-sea fishermen on Finkenwerder is described in a heroic way. The hidden function of leitmotifs from the White Horse Rider by Theodor Storm was developed by Robert Wohlleben pointed out. From 1914 he published nationalist Low German war poems, which were mainly directed against the war opponent England.

During the First World War , Gorch Fock was drafted in 1915 and fought as an infantryman (in reserve Inf.-Rgt. 207) in Serbia and Russia , and later at Verdun . In March 1916 he came from the army to the navy at his own request and served as a lookout on the front mast of the small cruiser SMS Wiesbaden . He went down with the cruiser in the sea ​​battle on the Skagerrak . His body was driven ashore on the Swedish island of Väderöbod off Fjällbacka (north of Gothenburg ) and buried in a small military cemetery on July 2, 1916 on the nearby uninhabited island of Stensholmen . Other German and British seafarers rest there. There is an anchor on his grave. His gravestone bears his name, his life dates and the title of his book Seafaring is Necessary! ( 58 ° 34 ′ 32.7 ″  N , 11 ° 16 ′ 28.6 ″  E, coordinates: 58 ° 34 ′ 32.7 ″  N , 11 ° 16 ′ 28.6 ″  E ).


Gorch Fock's estate administrator Aline Bußmann and his cousin Hinrich Wriede are said to have written their own contributions to Gorch Fock in a tone that aimed at "glorifying" him. They also contributed to the later appropriation of his works by the National Socialists . Hinrich Wriede is said to have stylized Gorch Fock in his memory in the memorial book Gorch Fock und seine Heimat, von Deich und Dünung in 1937 as a “hero of the First World War” and a “pioneer of National Socialism”. According to Dirk Hempel, Aline Bußmann gave the leitmotifs of the writer's posthumous reception as early as 1918 in the publication of Sterne überm Meer : “Enthusiasm for the sea, war and hero myths, supposedly Germanic, Nordic and typically German traits.” Especially motifs such as “Heimat ”And“ Kampf ”made Gorch Fock popular in the Third Reich. In 1934 his works had a total print run of 700,000 copies and his texts became reading material in school books.

According to Günter Benjamin's biography of the writer, Gorch Fock , published in 2005 . Poet with a heart for the sea , Gorch Fock was undeniably a nationalist , but not a racist or anti-Semite . Reinhard Goltz attests Gorch Fock for "racist potential for meaning ... only beginnings". "Pronounced anti-Semitism" shows itself "only very scattered" with Gorch Fock.

Culture of remembrance

  • Gorch-Fock-Haus in Finkenwerder in the Nessdeich 6.
  • Gorch Fock House in Wilhelmshaven
  • Finkenwerder, Gorch-Fock-Park: memorial stone.

The following objects in Germany are named after Gorch Fock:


Focks Hamburger Janmooten (1918 edition, Glogau Verlag)
  • Schullengrieper un Tungenknieper (short stories, Low German, 1910)
  • Hein Godenwind de Admirol von Moskitonien (novel, 1911) - named after the Hein Godenwind seaside resort ship and the Hein Godenwind floating youth hostel
  • Hamborger Janmooten (1913)
  • Seafaring is necessary! (Roman, 1913), new editions: Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1986, ISBN 3-499-14148-5 , Sutton, Erfurt 2013, ISBN 3-89702-930-8 ,
  • Driving people (1914)
  • Cilli Cohrs (play, 1914)
  • Doggerbank (play, 1914)
  • Low German war poems (1914-1915)
  • The Queen of Honolulu (play, 1916)
  • North Sea (collection of stories, 1916)
  • Stars above the sea. Diary sheets and poems. (1918, posthumous)
  • Complete works , five volumes, Hamburg 1925
  • After the storm , 19 stories on the twentieth anniversary of death, May 31, 1936, Hamburg
  • With full sails (Collected Works), 1941

Film adaptations

Radio plays

Unknown date:

On the occasion of his 70th birthday, Rudolf Kinau wrote the dialect radio play Gorch Fock - Söbentig Joahr , which NWDR Hamburg produced under the direction of Hans Freundt and which aired for the first time on August 19, 1950. The speakers were u. a. Arnold Risch , Aline Bußmann , Eduard Marks and Hartwig Sievers .


  • Günter Benja: Gorch Fock. Poet with a heart for the sea . Sutton, Erfurt 2005, ISBN 3-89702-927-8 .
  • Rudolf Kinau:  Fock, Gorch. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 5, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1961, ISBN 3-428-00186-9 , p. 265 ( digitized version ).
  • Friedrich W. Michelsen : Gorch Fock. Work and effect . Lectures and discussions at the colloquium on dialect literature, native literature using the example of Gorch Fock on February 25, 1983 in Hamburg. Buske, Hamburg 1984, ISBN 3-87118-659-7 ( Quickborn books 77).
  • Mathias Mainholz (Ed.): Hapag trip to Odin's throne. Gorch Focks trip to Norway 1913 . Diary, fragment of a novel, story. Dölling and Galitz, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-933374-53-7 .
  • Rüdiger Schütt (Ed.): Gorch Fock. Myth, brand, person. Essays on the life, work and impact of the writer Johann Kinau (1880–1916) . Bautz, Nordhausen 2010, ISBN 978-3-88309-575-2 .
  • Rüdiger Schütt: Between herrings and heroes. Gorch Fock and the war , in: Jürgen Elvert / Lutz Adam / Heinrich Walle (eds.): The Imperial Navy in War: A Search for Traces , Stuttgart (Franz Steiner Verlag) 2017, pp. 125-138. ISBN 978-3-515-11824-8
  • Rüdiger Schütt: Seafaring is necessary! Gorch Fock - The biography . Lambert Schneider, Darmstadt 2016, ISBN 978-3-650-40123-6 .
  • Robert Wohlleben : The Schimmelreiter from Finkenwerder. Theodor Storm's “Schimmelreiter” discovered in Gorch Fock's “Seafaring is Necessary!”. Reading a puzzle novel . Fulgura frango, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-88159-036-6 ( Meiendorfer Druck 31).

Web links

Wikisource: Johann Wilhelm Kinau  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Gorch Fock  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Gorch Fock: The fastest ship in the fleet in the Gutenberg-DE project
  2. a b c A Passion for Gorch Fock , Hamburger Abendblatt , January 14, 2006
  3. The central purchasing company of German grocery retailers is now called EDEKA
  4. ^ Writer Gorch Fock: Sea friend with seasickness , one day , May 31, 2016
  5. Gorch Fock's grave on Stensholmen.Retrieved January 5, 2009
  6. a b c Matthias Gretzschel: What remains of Gorch Fock after a century. In: Hamburger Abendblatt , May 31, 2016, p. 10. Online
  7. Gorch Fock's grave at knerger.de
  8. ^ Contributions to German folklore and antiquity, Volume 19, Museum for Hamburg History, 1980 p. 80 [1]
  9. Claus Schuppenhauer: Low German Classics 1850–1950: Paths to Low German Literature, Schuster, 1982, p. 116 [2] [3]
  10. Reception Gorch Focks , p. 41, in: Friedrich W. Michelsen : Gorch Fock: Werk u. Effect, Helmut Buske Verlag , Hamburg, 1984, ISBN 3-87118-659-7 , pp. 39–52 [4] [5]
  11. State Center for Political Education Hamburg: The brown teachers of the black pupil ( Hans-Peter de Lorent wrote this text for his book "Perpetrator profiles. Those responsible in Hamburg's education system under the swastika" vol. 1. Hamburg 2016, pp. 676–700)
  12. Dirk Hempel: “Karger perhaps than where else, difficult to wrestle.” - Literature and literary life . In: Dirk Hempel, Friederike Weimar (ed.): “Heaven for Time.” The culture of the 1920s in Hamburg . Wachholtz, Neumünster 2010, ISBN 978-3-529-02849-6 , pp. 82-83.
  13. ^ Günter Benja: Gorch Fock. Poet with a heart for the sea . Sutton, Erfurt 2005, ISBN 3-89702-927-8 , p.?.
  14. Reinhard Goltz : "In search of identity spaces in the writings of Gorch Focks", p. 58, in: Friedrich W. Michelsen : Gorch Fock: Werk u. Effect, Helmut Buske Verlag , Hamburg, 1984, pp. 53–72, ISBN 3-87118-659-7 [6] [7] [8]
  15. Gorch Fock: Hein Godenwind in the Gutenberg-DE project
  16. Gorch Fock: Seafaring is necessary! in the Gutenberg-DE project
  17. Gorch Fock: After the storm in the Gutenberg-DE project