Harry Mulisch

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Harry Mulisch (2010)

Harry Kurt Victor Mulisch (born July 29, 1927 in Haarlem , † October 30, 2010 in Amsterdam ) was a Dutch writer . He was particularly noted for his novels Das Assentat (1982) and The Discovery of Heaven (1992).


Harry Mulisch was the son of Karl Viktor Kurt Mulisch, a former Austrian officer , and Alice Schwarz, a Jew from a Frankfurt banking family. During the time of the German occupation of the Netherlands (1940-45), his father was the personnel director of Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co. Sarphatistraat , a bank whose task was the Aryanization of Jewish property. For this job, the father had to go to an internment camp for three years after the war ; he died in 1957 as a result of his stay in this internment camp for collaborators. However, through his managerial position, the father had been able to protect his Jewish ex-wife and son from the National Socialists and deportation , while Mulisch's grandmother and maternal great-grandmother were murdered in the Sobibor concentration camp . In 1936 his parents divorced; Harry Mulisch lived with his mother and was largely raised by the domestic servant Frieda Falk. After his mother moved to Amsterdam, he lived with his father in Haarlem. Mulisch grew up bilingual (German and Dutch). The mother emigrated to the USA in 1951.

Mulisch's connection between persecution because of his Jewish origin on the one hand (via his mother) and the collaboration with the National Socialist German occupiers on the other hand (via his father) had a significant impact on his literary work. Mulisch claimed from this connection that he was the Second World War (“ Ik ben de Tweede wereldoorlog ”).

Mulisch attended elementary school in Leiden from 1933 to 1939 and then switched to the Christian Lyceum in Haarlem, which he left in May 1945 without a degree. His first short story De Kamer was published on February 8, 1947 in Elseviers Weekblad .

In addition to his work as a writer, Mulisch was an editor for the magazine Podium from 1958 to 1962 and worked for the magazines Randstad (1961-1969) and De Gids (1965-1990). From 1962 he was a board member of the influential literary publisher De Bezige Bij .

Mulisch was a reporter at the Eichmann trial in Israel in 1961 . This resulted in his report Strafsache 40/61 , which was awarded the Vijverberg-Prijs in 1963. Since 1962 he was friends with Hannah Arendt , who was also a trial observer and wrote Eichmann's work in Jerusalem .

In the 1960s and 1970s Mulisch was publicly involved against the Cold War and the Vietnam War and was at times a supporter of the Dutch Provo movement . From the early 1980s he participated in the Dutch peace movement.

His novels Das Assentat (1982) and The Discovery of Heaven (1992) received worldwide attention ; The first novel deals with the consequences of the murder of a Dutch policeman collaborating with the Nazi regime, while The Discovery of Heaven deals with the relationship between science and religion in a mystical way.

In the Dutch post-war literature there was often talk of the “big three” - meaning Willem Frederik Hermans , Gerard Reve and Harry Mulisch. After Hermans' death and the progressive dementia Reves, Mulisch sometimes jokingly called himself the "big one" (" de grote Eén ").

Harry Mulisch moved to Amsterdam in 1958 after the death of his father. In 1971 he married the artist Sjoerdje Woudenberg, 21 years his junior, with whom he had two daughters (* 1971 and * 1974). Since 1989 he lived with his girlfriend Kitty Saal, with whom he had a son (* 1992).

In 2002, the German Ambassador in Amsterdam, Edmund Duckwitz , presented him with the Federal Cross of Merit , First Class, for The Assassination and The Discovery of Heaven because of the “important role of his works as a mediator”.

In 2006, the planetoid No. 10251, discovered in 1971, was named Mulisch in his honor .

Mulisch's literary oeuvre encompasses a wide spectrum of journalistic works, short stories , novels , drama , poetry , opera libretti and philosophical essays.

Harry Mulisch died on October 30, 2010 at the age of 83 in his home in Amsterdam as a result of his cancer .


Works published in German translation

Other works




Film adaptations

  • 1977: Love Without Scruples ( Twee vrouwen ) - Director: George Sluizer
  • 1986: The attack ( De aanslag ; based on the novel Das Assentat ) - Director: Fons Rademakers . The film adaptation received the Oscar for best foreign language contribution in 1987 .
  • 1995: Hoogste tijd - Director: Frans Weisz
  • 2001: The Discovery of Heaven ( De ontdekking van de hemel ) - Director: Jeroen Krabbé

Audio books

Radio plays


Web links

Commons : Harry Mulisch  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. http://www.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/schriftsteller-harry-mulisch-mit-83-jahren-gestorben/1970964.html
  2. a b Dirk Schümer : The heavenly puppeteer . Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , November 1, 2010
  3. ^ Boris Krause: Mulisch biography at the online information portal NetherlandsNet
  4. Harry Mulisch: De Kamer gevolgd door een knopte printed matter of two romans by Marita Mathijsen . Uitgeverij De Bezige Bij, Amsterdam 2000
  5. cf. Hermann Korte : Harry Mulisch . In: Critical lexicon on contemporary foreign language literature (accessed on October 31, 2010 via Munzinger Online )
  6. The Minor Planet Circulars June 13, 2006, PDF, 1.5 MB
  7. Planetoïde 10251 heet nu 'Mulisch' October 12, 2006
  8. ^ Dpa: Writer Harry Mulisch is dead. Die Zeit , October 31, 2010, accessed on November 2, 2010 .