Hans Bender (writer)

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Hans Bender, portrait of Eva Zippel (2000), signed by him

Hans Friedrich Bender (born July 1, 1919 in Mühlhausen , Baden , † May 28, 2015 in Cologne ) was a German writer , poet and editor .

life and work

Hans Bender was born as the son of an innkeeper in Mühlhausen. He completed his school days in the boarding schools in Bruchsal and Sasbach near Achern. Here he also passed his Abitur exams in 1939. Repeatedly interrupted by work and military service, in the same year he began studying German, journalism, art history and philosophy at the University of Erlangen. From 1940 to 1945 he was deployed in the German Wehrmacht, mainly on the Eastern Front. Until 1949 he was in Soviet captivity . Then he continued his studies.

During his studies, Hans Bender began to write poems (published in Strangers should be over and Lyrische Biographie ) and short stories (which dealt among other things with the experiences of the war) as well as the publication of the literary magazine Konturen in Heidelberg from 1952 to 1953, which particularly challenged young authors to present their texts to the public.

In 1953 he founded the Akzente magazine together with Walter Höllerer , which quickly became one of the most important literary magazines in the German-speaking world. Until 1980 he was editor of the periodical published by Carl Hanser Verlag . From 1962 to 1964, Bender was editor and head of the features section of the magazine magnum and from 1960 to 1962 of the features section of the Deutsche Zeitung .

From 1969 to 1979 he was visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was made an associate professor.

Hans Bender published his first novel in 1954 under the title Eine Ding wie Liebe , which addressed the love of a young student for a refugee girl. The highly acclaimed novel Wunschkost came out in 1959 as an authentic representation of his time in Russian captivity. After a longer break in the field, he published his diary entries in 1979 under the title One of them and in 1987 the collection of stories, Bruderherz . As an author, Hans Bender primarily shaped the German-language short story after the Second World War. The wolves are back , Der Brotholer , Iljas Tauben , Die Pilfahrt and Das Gasthaus are still part of the literary canon in German textbooks and have been translated into numerous languages. In old age it was primarily the quatrains in which Bender (as in the notes) demonstrated the ability to bring memorable images, thoughts and situations to bear in a few verses in a (self-) ironic, laconic and pointed manner. The selected works have been published by Rimbaud Verlag since 2002 .

In addition to thematically-oriented anthologies (poetry and prose), representative poetry anthologies such as My poem is my knife or What are these for times should be emphasized whose documentary character makes them indispensable reference works.

In 1957 Bender received the Süddeutsche Zeitung's short story award . Further honors for his literary support, work and work followed. In 2006 he received the Christian Ferber gift of honor from the German Schiller Foundation . Bender was a member of the PEN Club (from 1962) and later also of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz , the Free Academy of Arts Mannheim and the Academy of Arts Berlin , literature section. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia awarded him the title of professor in 1969.

Hans Bender has signed the Frankfurt appeal , which calls for the restoration of the "uniform and proven orthography".

Hans Bender was one of the lenders of the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne, which sank in 2009, with significant volumes of letters : Perhaps the greatest literary loss of the collapse , wrote the FAZ on June 29, 2009. The letters from and to Elias Canetti contained in these volumes are printed in handed down to the magazine Sinn und Form .

Bender had lived in Cologne since 1959, where he also died in 2015 at the age of 95. He is buried in a grave of honor in the cemetery of the home parish of Mulhouse.


In the lexicon of world literature , Bender is characterized as an "unpathetic lyric poet and disciplined narrator of a subtle prose, working with the smallest of resources, of clear honesty and discreet warmth".

Single track

  • Strangers should be over. Poems. Augsburg 1951.
  • The host . Four stories, narratives. Frankfurt / Main 1953.
  • One thing like love. Novel. Hamburg 1954, Munich 1959, Frankfurt / Main 1994.
  • Lyric biography. Poems. Wuppertal 1957.
  • Wolves and pigeons. Stories. Munich 1957.
  • The bread tolerant. Narrative. Hamburg 1957.
  • Desired food. Novel. Munich 1959 and Aachen 2004.
  • Fondue or the free table. Short story. Basel 1961.
  • The weighing house. Stories and autobiographical afterword. Stuttgart 1961.
  • With the mail ship. 24 stories. Munich 1962.
  • The wolves are coming back. Seven short stories. Hamburg 1965.
  • Program and prose by the young German writers. Mainz 1967.
  • Half the sun. Stories and travel pictures. Baden-Baden 1968.
  • Torcello's dog. 32 stories. Frankfurt / Main 1969 and Aachen 2007.
  • Words, pictures, people. Stories, novels, reports, essays. Munich 1969.
  • Desired food and stories . 1971.
  • A few days' records. Records. Berlin 1971.
  • One of them. A few days' records. Munich and Vienna 1979.
  • The autumn book. Poems and prose . 1982.
  • Brother dear. Stories, Munich. 1987.
  • Three stories. Weilheim 1989.
  • Postcards from Rome. Autobiographical texts. Munich and Vienna 1989.
  • Poems and prose. Karlsruhe 1990.
  • One thing like love. Roman, revised version. Frankfurt / Main 1991.
  • The places, the hours. Records. Hauzenberg 1992.
  • Here we stay. 11 poems. Cologne 1992.
  • I am writing briefly. Records 1994/95. Cologne 1995.
  • Stories from the Kraichgau. Stories. Heidelberg 1995.
  • Letters 1955–1983. with Rainer Brambach . Frankfurt / Main 1997.
  • black on white. Quatrain. Warmbronn 1998.
  • Like the lines of my hand Records. Hanser 1999.
  • Selected records. Stories and poems. Compiled by Hugo Dittberner . Darmstadt 1999.
  • Afternoon, late September. Quatrain. Cologne 2000.
  • Those grapes des Zeuxis. Records. Aachen 2002.
  • Linger, go. Poems in four lines. Aachen 2003.
  • Rite of return. Quatrain. with linocuts by Zoppe Voskuhl. Berlin 2006.
  • Sit on the bank. Records. With a speech by Hugo Dittbernerm Hauzenberg in 2006.
  • The pilgrimage - stories from the time between the World War and the miraculous years . Audio book. Hans Bender is reading. Dillenburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-9813197-0-5 .
  • How it will come. My quatrains. Hanser, Munich 2009.
  • Rose Ausländer - Hans Bender: Letters and Documents 1958-1995 . Aachen 2009.
  • O evening hour. Selected poems. Afterword by Arnold Stadler . Ulrich Keicher, Warmbronn 2011
  • In my way. Poems in four lines . Hanser Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-446-23869-5 .
  • Records 2000-2007. Selected Works Vol. 6. Aachen 2014.
  • The boy who saw Asta Nielsen. Ten stories. Rimbaud Verlag, Aachen 2019.
  • Hans Bender reading book . Nyland Foundation. Cologne 2019.
  • Behind the dark door. Quatrains 2013 - 2015. Edited by Theo Breuer . Pop Verlag, Ludwigsburg 2019.

Publication (selection)

  • My poem is my knife. Poets to their poems. Heidelberg 1955, Munich 1961 and 1964.
  • Counterplay. German poetry since 1945. Darmstadt 1961.
  • Annual ring. Contributions to German literature and contemporary art. Stuttgart 1962-1989.
  • We live in this country. German poems of the present. Munich 1978.
  • German poems 1930–1960. Stuttgart 1983.
  • Stories from WWII. Munich u. Zurich 1983.
  • What kind of times are these. German-language poems from the eighties. Munich u. Vienna 1988.

Awards and honors


  • Theo Breuer : Turning ninety. Hans Bender for his birthday on July 1, 2009 . A laudatory speech .
  • Theo Breuer: Hans Bender . In: From the hinterland. Poetry after 2000. Edition YE, Sistig / Eifel 2005, ISBN 3-87512-186-4 .
  • Michael Ertz: The writer Hans Bender and the Kraichgau. In: Kraichgau. Contributions to landscape and local research, volume 14, 1995, pp. 253–264.
  • Hans-Rüdiger Schwab (Ed.): Literature as a home. In honor of Hans Bender. Braun, Karlsruhe 1994, ISBN 3-7650-8138-8 .
  • Wolfgang Bittner / Hans Bender: The sons of innkeepers have an advantage. A conversation . In: Akzente , issue 1/2010, pp. 62–72.
  • Biography about Hans Bender, Munzinger-Archiv, Verlag Ravensburg, in: https://www.munzinger.de/document/000000006805 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Krüger : He would rather stand in the back than sit in front. German literature owes a lot to him: On the death of the writer and editor Hans Bender . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, May 29, 2015, p. 13.
  2. ^ Biography about Hans Bender, Munzinger-Archiv, Ravensburg, in: http://www.munzinger.de/document/000000006805
  3. ^ Died: Hans Bender , BuchMarkt.de of May 28, 2015.
  4. ^ Obituary Süddeutsche from May 28, 2015 (accessed on September 27, 2015).
  5. ^ Gero von Wilpert (Ed.): Lexicon of world literature. Vol. 1: Biographical-bibliographical concise dictionary based on authors and anonymous works . dtv, Munich 1997 ISBN 3-423-59050-5 , p. 143.
  6. Merit holders since 1986. State Chancellery of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, accessed on March 11, 2017 .
  7. Theo Breuer: To be ninety. Hans Bender for his birthday on July 1, 2009