Heinrich Schirmbeck

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Heinrich Schirmbeck (born February 23, 1915 in Recklinghausen ; † July 4, 2005 in Darmstadt ) was a German writer , peace and environmental activist.


Heinrich Schirmbeck, whose father, a railway worker for the Prussian State Railways, died in the First World War in 1917 , grew up in Recklinghausen . After primary school, he attended secondary school from 1925 and from 1931 upper secondary school , where he passed his Abitur in 1934 . Already during his school days he was involved in youth groups of the SPD and the Reichsbanner . After graduating from high school, he was not allowed to study.

From 1935 to 1937 he completed an apprenticeship as a bookseller in a specialist medical bookshop in Frankfurt am Main . During this time his first contributions appeared in various magazines. From 1937 to 1938 he was a product range assistant in Halle an der Saale and Nuremberg . In 1938 he became head of advertising at the Academic Publishing Company Athenaion in Potsdam , the following year he was a propagandist at Ullstein Verlag in Berlin and finally at the Frankfurter Zeitung , for whose features Schirmbeck made regular contributions until 1943. The friendship with Peter Suhrkamp and Hermann Kasack began in these years . From 1940, Schirmbeck was a soldier. Shortly before the end of the war he deserted - an experience that he processed in the story Die Flucht . In 1945 he became a prisoner of war in the USA, from which he was released in September 1945.

From 1946 to 1950 he was editor of the feature pages of the Schwäbische Zeitung in Leutkirch im Allgäu and at the same time an employee of the Badische Zeitung in Freiburg im Breisgau . In 1950 he switched to advertising for the Deutsche Zeitung and Wirtschaftszeitung in Stuttgart, and in 1951 he became advertising director for Frankfurter Illustrierte. Since 1952, Schirmbeck was a freelance writer and radio author ; he wrote more than 250 radio reports from various scientific fields. From 1955 to 1967 he lived in Frankfurt am Main , and since then he has been based in Darmstadt on the Rosenhöhe.

Heinrich Schirmbeck's essays and short stories combine literary, ethical and scientific topics. His main work annoyed your right eye appeared in 1957.

In addition to his literary work, Schirmbeck was also politically active again after the war: in the 1950s he was active against the rearmament of the Federal Republic of Germany, later against nuclear armament and nuclear power plants, and in the 1980s against the NATO double resolution .

Schirmbeck has been a member of the PEN Center of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1959 , of the German Academy for Language and Poetry in Darmstadt since 1962 and of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz since 1964 . From 1969 he was a member of the Academic Council of the Humboldt Society .

Heinrich Schirmbeck died on July 4, 2005 in Darmstadt at the age of ninety.


In order to keep the work of the writer alive, a support and friendship group "Heinrich Schirmbeck" was set up. In particular, writers who have made a name for themselves in the German language should become members alongside companies and private individuals.

In 2005, in Wiesbaden, around the local publisher Immo Hilbinger, the non-profit "Heinrich Schirmbeck Society" was formed from the circle of sponsors and friends. In 2012, it was decided to relocate the Schirmbeck Gesellschaft to the Schirmbeck Haus on Rosenhöhe.

In August 2017, the Heinrich Schirmbeck Foundation became the Helga and Heinrich Schirmbeck "Writers of the Rosenhöhe" Foundation - which will be referred to in publications as the Schirmbeck Foundation in the future and the headquarters were also relocated to the Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt.

On September 16, 2017, the "Heinrich Schirmbeck Peace University" was founded as a registered cooperative (eG) in the open house of the Protestant Dean's Office of the City of Darmstadt . As an educational institution, the Peace University is intended to make peace as a productive good in the world socially and economically viable, as well as to define gross social happiness as a common economic value in the natural economy accounting, which will also be conveyed in this institution. At the same time, a research and teaching institute for global co-operative society development will be attached as an institute.

honors and awards


  • The Fechtbrüder , Berlin 1944 (new edition: Mainz 1995)
  • Dangerous deceptions: story , Berlin 1947
  • The mirror labyrinth , Freiburg i.Br. 1948
  • Does your right eye annoy you , Darmstadt 1957 (new edition: Wiesbaden 2005)
  • The young lieutenant Nikolai , Darmstadt 1958
  • The formula and sensuality: building blocks for poetics in the atomic age , Munich 1964
  • The night before the duel , Frankfurt a. M. [u. a.] 1964
  • You will be like gods: The human being in the biological revolution , Düsseldorf [u. a.] 1966
  • On the misery of literature in the age of science , Mainz 1967
  • Aurora , Göttingen 1968
  • Dreams and Crystals , Frankfurt 1968
  • Modern literature and education for peace , Mainz 1970
  • Dances and Ecstasies , Darmstadt 1973
  • Beauty and horror: on the problem of humanism in modern literature , Mainz 1977. 247 pp. ISBN 3-7758-0921-X
  • Franz Nauen  : (1887-1959); Portrait of a teacher from the Weimar period , Mainz 1980
  • The Pirouette of the Electron: Master Tales , Düsseldorf 1980 (new edition: Wiesbaden 2005)
  • For a world of hope , Darmstadt 1988
  • A life for the future , Recklinghausen 1995
  • Singing in an electric chair , Weilerswist 1995
  • The fear of Oedipus : on the socio-ethical deficit of modernity , Frankfurt am Main [u. a.] 1996
  • Shapes and perspectives: essays, portraits and reflections from five decades , Darmstadt 2000. 485 pp. ISBN 3-534-15109-7
  • Der Kris , Wiesbaden 2005. 100 pp. ISBN 3-927110-21-3
  • O. Henry : Streets of Fate , Heidelberg-Waibstadt 1947
  • Ernst Johann, Heinrich Schirmbeck (Ed.): Elisabeth Langgässer's Darmstadt Years: A Review with Contributions by Walter Dirks a . a. Liebig, Darmstadt 1981. ISBN 3-87390-054-8


  • Karl August Horst (ed.): Literature and science. Claassen, Düsseldorf a. a. 1968.
  • Rolf Stolz (ed.): Orpheus in the laboratory (= Der Grenzgänger 2). Landpresse, Weilerswist 1995.
  • Gerald Funk: The formula and the sensuality. The work of Heinrich Schirmbeck. With personal bibliography (= literature and media studies 59). Igel-Verlag, Paderborn 1997, ISBN 3-89621-054-8 (also: Marburg, Univ., Dissertation, 1997)
  • Cynthia L. Appl: Heinrich Schirmbeck and the two cultures. A post-war German writer's approach to science and literature (= Studies on themes and motifs in literature. Vol. 34). Lang, New York NY et al. a. 1998, ISBN 0-8204-3737-9 .
  • Gerald Funk: In the labyrinth of reflections. Heinrich Schirmbeck as a fantastic narrator (= series of publications and materials from the Fantastic Library Wetzlar. Vol. 61, ZDB -ID 2190819-9 ). Fantastic support group in Wetzlar, Wetzlar 2001.
  • Gerald Funk:  Schirmbeck, Heinrich Wilhelm. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 23, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-11204-3 , p. 6 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Rolf Stolz: Reading book Heinrich Schirmbeck , Aisthesis Verlag Bielefeld 2014, ISBN 978-3-8498-1044-3 .
  • Walter Gödden and Arnold Maxwill "Literature in Westphalia" Contributions to Research 14 "Aisthesis Verlag Bielefeld 2017, ISBN 978-3-8498-1183-9

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Appreciation by the Recklinghausen City Archives ( Memento from January 14, 2006 in the Internet Archive )