Hans Weigel

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Hans Weigel (1974)

Julius Hans Weigel (born May 29, 1908 in Vienna , Austria-Hungary , † August 12, 1991 in Maria Enzersdorf ) was an Austrian writer and theater critic. He lived in Vienna and Maria Enzersdorf - with the exception of 1938 to 1945, when he was emigrating to Switzerland .

life and work

Before Austria was " annexed" to the Nazi-dominated German Reich in 1938 , Weigel worked at Viennese cabaret theaters. He then went to Switzerland until 1945. After his return he also wrote reviews, especially for Kurier and Neues Österreich . Together with Friedrich Torberg , he was responsible for Bertolt Brecht's years-long boycott on Austrian stages, which he rejected because of his communist worldview.

From 1951 to 1956, Hans Weigel published the anthology series Voices of the Present , in which he primarily promoted young authors, including Ilse Aichinger , Marlen Haushofer , Gerhard Fritsch and Ingeborg Bachmann , with whom he was temporarily involved. Weigel himself reports about this period in his 1951 novel Unfinished Symphony . After the American German studies scholar Joseph McVeigh published Ingeborg Bachmann's letters to Weigel in 2016, the problems of the relationship between Bachmann and Weigel, who is 18 years older, can be traced in more detail.

Weigel is the namesake of the Hans Weigel Literature Scholarship , which is awarded annually by the state of Lower Austria and is endowed with 6,450 euros. He also worked on Nestroy's comedies for the Vienna theater, as well as all of Molière's comedies , which he translated into rhyming Alexandrians.

From 1957 to approx. 1962 a language education program for adults ran on ORF, it was repeated in summer 2012 on the ORF culture and information channel, Hans Weigel was co-author with Ernst Hagen German for residents - Ernst Hagen also designed this program in the role a moderating teacher with 2 male and 2 female actresses from back then - Oskar Wegrostek, Raoul Retzer, Paula Pfluger and Ilse Hanel, in later episodes Miriam Dreyfuss also appeared as a guest.

From the mid-1960s Weigel was the partner and most recently husband of the actress Elfriede Ott (wedding was on January 9, 1991, just a few months before his death). With her he initiated the Nestroyspiele at Liechtenstein Castle . As a language critic, he joined the tradition of Austrian authors who were skeptical of language (“The Sorrows of Young Words”, 1974).

Through his reviews in the FAZ he made the works of Elazar Benyoëtz known in Germany .

The cod affair

Weigel also gained a certain degree of awareness through the so-called Affair Dorsch . On the morning of April 13, 1956, a theater review appeared in the newspaper in which Weigel made the following remarks with regard to an appearance by the actress Käthe Dorsch : “ ... everything that should be designed, experienced, remained a hint, a hint how stars are often on rehearsals or at the 300th performance ”. Dorsch then slapped him publicly in front of his regular café at the corner of Museumstrasse / Volksgartenstrasse, Café Raimund , with the words "I think it's time you got something on your unwashed mouth".

Weigel then filed a lawsuit against Dorsch for physical insult, suggesting a psychological examination of the actress, as she had already slapped the Berlin critic Wolfgang Harich ten years ago and consequently had to fight against repetition. Since Weigel was of Jewish origin, the press also interpreted the slaps as an anti-Semitic attack, which, according to Weigel, pointing to Dorsch's courageous attitude during the Third Reich, could hardly have been.

In the course of this process, the actors and the rest of the artistic staff of the Burgtheater testified against Hans Weigel that they all saw themselves continually being degraded by Weigel, and asked the Minister of Education Heinrich Drimmel for protection from this critic and to allow him further access to the Burgtheater refuse. The castle actor Raoul Aslan initially used his appearance in court to postulate that Weigel had to be removed from Austria because he was violating a national monument like the Burgtheater, only to demand the death penalty for him a little later with a theatrical gesture for a play on words.

On the part of Weigel and his legal adviser Christian Broda , the cooperation between leading actors from the castle, the Soviet occupying power and the KPÖ was critically discussed. For example, Albin Skoda was accused of having performed a hymn to the Soviet Union at the 14th Congress of the Communist Party of Austria in 1947. Josef Meinrad , known by Weigel as Josef Ivanovich Meinrad on a radio broadcast, was accused of participating in a film by the Soviet-dominated Rosenhügel production . Also Alma Seidler was asked if she could take the responsibility of taking money from the Soviets. The process was partially converted into a tribunal on the political views of the Burgtheater ensemble. The actors involved in the process ultimately admitted that they had been promoted in their careers by the critic Weigel.

Due to tumult in the courtroom, the trial was canceled several times. Finally, on June 7, 1956, Dorsch was sentenced to 500 schillings or, alternatively, to three days' arrest. Jokers sent Hans Weigel a can of cod liver after Dorsch's death in 1957 .

Hans Weigel is buried in a grave of honor in the Vienna Central Cemetery (group 33 G, number 79).


Friedrich Torberg described in an anecdote a meeting with him in a night café, in which Weigel felt annoyed by the pianist, who was playing the very popular song Tied Hands , which was written by Weigel and sung by Zarah Leander , over and over again :

“One night we ended up in one of the small, unfortunately now extinct, night cafes whose relaxed atmosphere was discreetly promoted by a mostly very good pianist. As soon as we had settled down, this one also intoned the 'tied hands', and when the head waiter whispered that the lyricist was among the newly arrived guests - the text and melody were already hanging over the neck and ears - he intoned the 'tied hands' again and immediately the 'tied hands' again. Then he came to our table with his guest book and put it down in front of Weigel. The entry with which he took it back read: 'Tied hands - this is what Hans Weigel wishes you.' "

- Friedrich Torberg, Aunt Jolesch's heirs


Hans Weigel's grave at the Vienna Central Cemetery


  • The green star . Novel. Basel 1943 (TV adaptation 1982)
  • Barabbas or the fiftieth birthday . Ibach, Vienna 1946
  • Unfinished symphony. Novel. Innsbruck 1951
  • "O you my Austria!" An attempt at the fragment of an improvisation for beginners and those who want to become one . Steingruber, Stuttgart 1956
  • "Get to know this people of shepherds!" Attempt to get closer to the Swiss Confederation . Artemis, Zurich 1962
  • Cat's Tongues , adaptation of the play by Miguel Mihura
  • Karl Kraus or The Power of Powerlessness. Attempt of a motive report to illuminate a multiple life's work . Molden, Vienna 1968
  • Nestroy . Series: Friedrichs Dramatiker des Welttheater, 27. Friedrich Verlag, Velber 1967, again 1972; again dtv 6827, series: Dramatiker des Welttheater, Munich undated (1977). All with Nestroy bibliography p. 91–94 or p. 87–91 (dtv)
  • The exact swindle or the downfall of the west through numbers and digits. Graz 1977.
  • The sorrows of young words. An anti dictionary . 2nd Edition. Artemis, Zurich 1974 ISBN 3-7608-0357-1
  • Tyrol for beginners . Word and World, Innsbruck 1981.
  • Fooling around for beginners , with drawings by Paul Flora , Diogenes Taschenbuch 21221, Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 1985, ISBN 3-257-21221-6
  • The thousand deadly sins. Graz 1988.
  • No mans land. An autobiographical novel . Edited by Elfriede Ott and Veronika Silberbauer. Amalthea, Vienna 2006 ISBN 978-3-85002-571-3
  • Seeking the land of the Germans with their souls ... Artemis Verlag, Zurich and Munich 1978 ISBN 3-7608-0481-0


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. www.hans-weigel.at
  2. "In the literary circle it was soon no longer a secret that the Jewish emigrant Hans Weigel and the determined student and author hope Bachmann had become a couple". Andrea Stoll: Ingeborg Bachmann - The dark shine of freedom , Munich 2013, p. 81 ff
  3. Andrea Stoll, Ingeborg Bachmann - The dark shine of freedom, Munich 2013, p. 82
  4. Thomas Mießgang: Ingeborg Bachmann. "Hell is going on in me". In: Die Zeit No. 14/2016. On-line
  5. ^ Helmut Böttiger: Affair, fear of estate. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung, February 14, 2016. Online
  6. New translations in comparison: Freshly refused . In: Der Spiegel . No. 10 , 1971, p. 174 ( online - March 1, 1971 , article about Weigel Molière new translations).
  7. agso.uni-graz.at
  8. derstandard.at
  9. Weigel, Das Land der Deutschen mit der Seele seeking, p. 124
  10. a b Stricken from the soul . In: Der Spiegel . No. 24 , 1956 ( online ).
  11. Weigel, The Land of Germans with the Soul Searching, Zurich 1991, p. 125
  12. ^ Friedrich Torberg: The heirs of Aunt Jolesch dtv 1981, p. 63