Jens Gerlach (poet)

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Jens Gerlach's gravestone

Jens Gerlach (born January 30, 1926 in Hamburg , † December 9, 1990 in Berlin ) was a German poet , theater, film and television play writer , also a publicist , editor and re-poet .


Jens Gerlach was the son of the employee Gregers Gerlach and the saleswoman Emmy Jörgensen. He attended the adult education center and high school in Altona and in 1942 put Dr. Müller's humanistic education in Marburg an der Lahn finished high school. In March 1943 he was drafted into military service. He was sent to a prison camp because of degradation of military strength and later assigned to a "probation force". In 1945 he became an American prisoner of war, from which he was released in the summer of 1946. He worked as a wharf worker and was a commercial apprentice from 1946 to 1948. From 1949 to 1951 Gerlach studied painting, literature and art history at Hamburg's Baukreis and at the Stock-Schmilinsky art school as well as at the Hamburg State Art School and at the Hamburg Advertising School. From 1952 he worked as a freelance writer and moved to the GDR in 1953 .

From 1957 to 1959 Gerlach worked as a dramaturge for the GDR state folk art ensemble in Berlin. From 1967 to 1973 he worked as a text editor in the management of the central dance music working group of the State Broadcasting Committee. In addition to the hit, he was particularly interested in the developing beat music. In 1971 Gerlach was one of the founders of the WIR group.

Gerlach's early literary work dates back to the mid 40s of the 20th century. At the same time his interest in popular music, especially jazz, was aroused. At first, Georg Heym and Wolfgang Borchert , and later Andreas Gryphius , Heinrich Heine , Arthur Rimbaud and Bertolt Brecht, had literary influence on Gerlach .

In addition to poems, Gerlach later wrote texts for various musical genres: Schlager, Beat, Lied, Chanson and choral works. He was best known for the "Jewish Chronicle" (premiered in January 1966 in Cologne and in February 1966 in Leipzig; compositions by Boris Blacher , Rudolf Wagner-Régeny , Karl Amadeus Hartmann , Hans Werner Henze , Paul Dessau ). Gerlach also worked with the composers Andre Asriel and Ernst Hermann Meyer , who were close friends of Gerlach, Wolfgang Lesser , Kurt Schwaen , Siegfried Matthus , Christfried Schmidt , Klaus-Dieter Adomatis and Wolfgang Ziegler .

As a post-poet, with the volume "Antiwelten" (1967) he made outstanding contributions to the work of the Russian poet Andrei Vosnesensky . He also copied works by Bella Akhmadulina, Nikolai Assajew and Vladimir Solouchin, among others .

Gerlach emerged as a film author with Tatort Berlin (1958), Der Lotterieschwede (1958), with the documentary strip Martin Andersen Nexö (1960) (all together with Joachim Kunert ) and with popular science films.

For the theater he wrote, among other things, the comedy "Der Knall" (first performance in 1963 in Karl-Marx-Stadt).

As editor he drew attention to himself with the "Anthology 56. Poems from East and West" (1956).

In terms of journalism, he publicly took sides for authors who were hostile to cultural policy such as Günter Kunert (Berliner Zeitung, November 26, 1961) or Peter Hacks (Neues Deutschland, November 3, 1962).

After he died of the consequences of a long, serious illness, Jens Gerlach was buried on December 19, 1990 at his own request in the cemetery in Petzow (Brandenburg).


Works (selection)

  • The corridor to the memorial. Poems , Berlin 1953
  • I wanna be your voice Poems , Berlin 1953
  • The light and the darkness. Love poems , Berlin 1963, 1966
  • "Der Knall", 1963, comedy, world premiere Karl-Marx-Stadt
  • "Enterprise Olive Branch", 1964, musical comedy based on Ewan Mc Coll, world premiere in Karl-Marx-Stadt
  • occidental snapshots , Berlin 1965
  • Jazz. Poems , Berlin and Weimar 1966, 1986
  • Green foliage, colorful leaves, sunshine and rainy weather , Berlin 1966
  • Jazz poems , with Gisela May and Friedhelm Schönfeld , Amiga 1968
  • Dorotheenstadt monologues. Poems , Berlin 1972, 1975, 1980, 1982
  • Bänkel - skirmishes and Robinsongs , Berlin 1972, 1975, 1978
  • The sea. Poems , Berlin 1974, 1984
  • Mirror image. Poems , Berlin 1983
  • Jens Gerlach. Poetry album 214 , Berlin 1985


  • 1958: Berlin crime scene
  • 1958: The Lottery Swede
  • 1959: Martin Anderson-Nexö
  • 1960: yesterday's shadow
  • 1962: In the Pergamon Museum
  • 1964: Three days in May


  • Music and Society 3/66, Hansjürgen Schäfer, "Be vigilant! Jewish Chronicle - Common anti-fascist commitment by composers from the GDR, West Germany and West Berlin", Berlin 1966
  • Weltbühne 12/73, Peter Edel, "Walking with Gerlach", Berlin 1973
  • new german literature 5/73, Mathilde Dau, "Beredte Stille", Berlin 1973
  • Weimar articles 8/73, Ursula Heukenkamp, ​​"Jens Gerlach, Dorotheenstädtische Monologe", Weimar 1973
  • Lexicon of German-speaking writers. In two volumes, Leipzig 1974
  • Weimar articles 5/75, Ursula Heukenkamp, ​​"Jens Gerlach: Der See", Weimar 1975
  • Uwe Berger, Günther Deicke [ed.]: Lyrik der DDR , Berlin and Weimar 1976
  • HP Hofmann: Beat Lexicon. Performers, authors, technical terms . VEB Lied der Zeit Musikverlag, Berlin (East) 1977.

Web links

Individual evidence