Ludwig Ganghofer

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Ganghofer, portrayed by Friedrich August von Kaulbach in 19081908 Sig Ludwig Ganghofer.jpg

Ludwig Albert Ganghofer (born July 7, 1855 in Kaufbeuren ; † July 24, 1920 in Tegernsee ) was a Bavarian writer who became famous for his homeland novels .


Ludwig Ganghofer's birthplace in Kaufbeuren is in the center of the old town, right next to the Martinskirche , where he was baptized. As the son of a forester with changing positions, he grew up in various Bavarian towns. Ludwig Ganghofer spent part of his childhood (1859–1865) in Welden near Augsburg. After graduating from the Royal Bavarian High School in Regensburg in 1873 , he worked for a year as a locksmith and fitter in the Riedinger machine factory in Augsburg . In 1875 he began studying mechanical engineering at the Polytechnic in Munich , but later switched to literary history and philosophy in Munich, Berlin and Leipzig . During his studies he became a member of the Berlin Academic Literature Association . In 1879 he received his doctorate in Leipzig . In 1913, as an old man , he became a member of the newly founded fraternity Rheno-Marchia Münster .

Ganghofer wrote his first play Der Herrgottschnitzer von Ammergau in 1880 for the Munich Gärtnerplatztheater . It was performed there nineteen times. The piece has been played more than a hundred times in Berlin. From October 1881 Ganghofer worked in Vienna as a dramaturge at the Ringtheater , which burned down a few weeks later . Since then he has worked as a freelancer for the family paper Die Gartenlaube and features editor of the Neue Wiener Tagblatt (1886–1891). During his time in Vienna, Ganghofer frequented the famous salon of Baroness Sophie Todesco , wife of the businessman Baron Eduard Todesco in the Palais Todesco on Kärntner Strasse. There he met important representatives of art, culture and economy, as Isidor Mautner , Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Strauss , who gave him the polka on to the Dance , Op. 436 dedicated while Ganghofer turn parts of the libretto for Strauss operetta The Gypsy Baron wrote and dedicated his novel Der Unfried to Strauss. In 1890 Ganghofer published the collected works of Johann Nestroy together with the writer and journalist Vinzenz Chiavacci, who had been friends with him throughout his life .

Ganghofer had his breakthrough as a writer with highland stories and novels - the first in 1883 with the prose version of the hitherto unsuccessful stage play Der Jäger von Fall . From 1891 he focused on writing, but staged Hugo von Hofmannsthal's The Gate and Death in Munich in 1898, for example .

Ganghofer's grave in the Egerner cemetery

Ganghofer was interested in many things. He was particularly interested in technical innovations, such as the film most recently . In 1897 he founded, together with Ernst von Wolzogen , Max Halbe and Richard Strauss , the Munich Literary Society , and sat as their president to press for authors who represented a different kind of literature and no recognition had found or under the censorship to suffer had (For example Rainer Maria Rilke or Frank Wedekind , for whom Ganghofer also gave the funeral speech in 1918). With Frank Wedekind and Heinrich Mann he signed the call for democratization for the Prussian electoral reform in 1909 . His engaging, humorous manner brought him into contact with numerous public figures. Ganghofer ran a hospitable house with his family.

Hunting lodge

Both in Munich and on his spacious hunting lodge "Hubertus" near Leutasch in Tyrol (right next to today's Tillfußalm), where he and some co-tenants had leased a hunting area of ​​over 20,000 hectares in the Gaistal , were well-known personalities of the time from the most diverse Areas of his guests, such as Ludwig Thoma , Friedrich August von Kaulbach , Franz von Stuck , Franz von Defregger , Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Heyse , Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Franz von Jauner , Leo Slezak or Richard Strauss . Adele Sandrock and Karl Valentin were discovered and promoted by Ludwig Ganghofer.

Between 1915 and 1917, Ganghofer reported as war correspondent from theaters of war on the western and eastern front , directly from the front line. In addition to propagandistic war reports, such as Journey to the German Front , there is also a large number of war poems that appeared in anthologies such as Eiserne Zither and Neue Kriegslieder . The works are characterized by patriotic sentiments and often hymns of praise for the warfare under Paul von Hindenburg and the emperor , who was a personal friend of Ganghofer (Ganghofer was considered the emperor's favorite writer). A deep disposition and friendship connected him with the Styrian homeland poet Peter Rosegger . Ganghofer suffered a serious war wound and was awarded the Iron Cross . Like his friend Ludwig Thoma, he became a member of the nationalist German Fatherland Party , founded in 1917 , which propagated a victory peace . After its dissolution on December 10, 1918, Ganghofer no longer appeared politically.

After finishing his work as a war correspondent, he worked as a writer until his death. His last work, The Land of Bavaria in Color Photography , he dedicated to King Ludwig III. of Bavaria . Ganghofer died in 1920 at his last residence, the Villa Maria in Tegernsee, which he bought in 1918, converted and lived in from 1919. His grave is in the cemetery of the St. Laurentius Church in Rottach-Egern , next to that of Ludwig Thoma .


Many of Ganghofer's works take up events from the history of the Berchtesgadener Land , where he regularly stayed. His homeland novels earned Ganghofer the reputation of the "ideal world" writer during his lifetime. Not infrequently his works, which mostly deal with the life of simple, capable, honest people , have been described as kitsch . Ganghofer and his works were therefore the target of satirical attacks during their lifetime, for example by Karl Kraus in his work The Last Days of Mankind .

The historical novels about Berchtesgaden's chronicle in particular contain references to social conflict situations during the Wilhelmine era . These stories, which do not always have a happy end, also deal with conflicts between the classes as well as social advancement (through loyal service) and advocate simple trust in God . Militarization can be observed within this cycle , and armed conflicts are described more and more. Ganghofer describes the social situation of the farmers as well as the clash of progress and superstition . Above all stands the ideal of a monarchist-patriarchal state caring for its subjects, as it corresponds to the Prussian- conservative ideology. In this chronicle the unity of the countries and classes is evoked, Ganghofer portrays inner strife and disintegration negatively. The Christianity as Ganghofer is there in this work, characterized the German nation state sgedanken accordingly by a rather Protestant coloring from. On the other hand, the stories are largely free of ethnic ideology, which is evident both in the description of the rural characters and in the fact that in Ganghofer - unlike in ethnic literature - dark-haired fictional characters with southern roots (as well as their connections with Germans) are often positive are occupied. Even Jewish characters are not portrayed negatively in an anti-Semitic way, and injustice they have suffered is also discussed. In the résumé of an optimist ("Book of Childhood", Chapter 3) Ganghofer writes:

“I was a journalist in Vienna for ten years. That's where you get to know Jews. Many many. And I have found that in Jewish families all the importance of the Incarnation in front of the children are taken and discussed in a much more natural and sensible way than the crippled morality of our 'Christian- Aryan culture' allows. The Jewish fathers and mothers enjoy the fruit of the rational in the deeper love of their children. "

Ganghofer's works, especially the novels, are still published today. More than 30 million issues were sold worldwide (estimated as of 2004).


Ganghofer's parents were the Ministerialrat August Ganghofer (later head of the Royal Bavarian Forest Administration, who was awarded the non-hereditary title of knight in 1887 ) and his wife Charlotte, née Louis, daughter of Professor Carl Louis , who taught at the Aschaffenburg Forestry School. Ganghofer's sister Ida was married to the geologist and geographer Albrecht Penck . The geomorphologist Walther Penck was Ganghofer's nephew. The writer Bernhard Horstmann , who wrote detective novels and thrillers under the pseudonym Stefan Murr , and the publicist Caspar Freiherr von Schrenck-Notzing are known among Ganghofer's grandchildren .

The Jewish origin of Ludwig Ganghofer's wife, Kathinka geb. Angel is controversial. Even before the Nazi era , an "Aryan" aristocratic origin was claimed, allegedly the illegitimate daughter of the Austrian diplomat Count Ferdinand Ladislaus von Esterházy- Hallwyl and the operetta singer Marie Geistinger . She was raised by a Jewish family in Budapest. However, the sources are different: Katharina Engel's birth was entered as Gitel Engel on July 7, 1856 in the birth register of the Israelite religious community in Pest , according to which she was a daughter of Leopold Engel and Babette Weiss. Her parents are said to be the businessman Leopold Engel, who died in Vienna in 1877, and his wife Babetta "Betti", née. Weiss, who also died in Vienna in 1870. Both are buried in the Jewish cemetery in Währing . In Leopold Engels' succession file, there is no mention of a word that she was an adopted or foster daughter. The alleged origin and subsequent adoption by the Jewish couple Engel appears to be questionable because before 1868 it was impossible in Austria to convert from Catholicism to Judaism . In any case, Kathinka Engel resigned from the Jewish faith in 1882 and converted to the Roman Catholic faith. She and Ludwig Ganghofer married on May 7, 1882 in the Augustinerkirche in Vienna.

Kathinka's older sister, Bertha Engel, married to the civil servant Samuel Fried, was the mother of Alfred Hermann Fried , who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911 . Her brother Moritz Engel was the owner of the important Viennese tabloid and cultural magazine Wiener Salonblatt, founded by Viktor Silberer .

Portraits by Ludwig Ganghofer

Friedrich August von Kaulbach made numerous portraits of Ganghofer, his daughters and a granddaughter. Another portrait of Ganghofer and the ex-libris he used was made by Franz von Stuck . Franz von Defregger , his best man, painted the picture "Ganghofer among his hunters".

Posthumous honors

Ganghofer monument in Rottach-Egern

In his birthplace Kaufbeuren , the Stadtmuseum Kaufbeuren , which owns large parts of Ganghofer's estate, has a separate room in the permanent exhibition dedicated to the writer. There is also a Ganghofer Museum in Leutasch .

In July 1925 , a memorial designed by Hans Grässel was unveiled in the Berchtesgaden spa gardens in honor of Ganghofer by the Cologne university professor Friedrich von der Leyen . In Rottach-Egern , the sculptor Quirin Roth a . a. a life-size bronze sculpture created by Ludwig Ganghofer.

Every year at the beginning of March, the International Ganghofer Run takes place in the Leutasch Valley in Tyrol . Over 1000 athletes from all over the world take part in this open cross-country skiing competition for all ages and levels of ability.

In addition, numerous streets (e.g. in Bad Reichenhall , Berchtesgaden , Nuremberg and Stuttgart ) and the Ganghofer Bridge in Munich were named after him.

Bibliography (selection)


  • The master carver of Ammergau . Popular drama in 5 lifts . Schmid'sche Verlagbuchhandlung, Augsburg 1880.

Stories / short stories

  • Edelweiss king. A highland story. 2 volumes. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1886.
  • The master carver of Ammergau. A highland story. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1890.
  • Flying summer. Publishing house of the Association of Book Friends, Berlin 1892.
  • The special one. A highland story. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1893.
  • The Torch Maiden. A mountain legend. Bonz & Co., Stuttgart 1894.
  • Thunderstorm in May. Novella. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1904.
  • Damian Zagg. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1906.
  • Trutzberg's Trutzberg. A story from Anno Domini 1445. Grothe, Berlin 1915 (= Grote's collection of works by contemporary writers. Volume 123).


  • The hunter of fall . A story from the Bavarian highlands. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1883.
  • The sins of the fathers. Novel . Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1886.
  • The unrest. A village novel . Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1888.
  • The monastery hunter . 14th century novel . Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1892.
  • The Martinsklause . Novel from the beginning of the 12th century . 2 volumes. Bonz & Co., Stuttgart 1894.
  • Hubertus Castle . Novel in two volumes. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1895.
  • The bacchante . Novel in two volumes. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1897.
  • The silence in the forest . Novel in two volumes. Grote, Berlin 1899.
  • The Loan of God. 13th century novel . Historical novel. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1899.
  • The running mountain. A highland novel . Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1899.
  • The village apostle. Highland novel . Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1900.
  • The new being. 16th century novel . Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1902.
  • The high glow . Novel . 2 volumes. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1904.
  • The man in the salt. Novel from the early 17th century . 2 volumes. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1906.
  • Forest rush . Novel. 2 volumes. 1907 (1908 aa Q.)
  • The ox war . 15th century novel . 2 volumes. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1914.
  • The great hunt . 18th century novel . Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1918.


  • CV of an optimist . 3 volumes. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart
    • Childhood book . 1909.
    • Book of Youth . 1910.
    • Book of freedom . 1911.
  • Journey to the German front . Ullstein, Berlin, Vienna 1915. (Ullstein - war books)
  • With the Army Groups Hindenburg and Mackensen . Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1916.

Work edition

  • Ludwig Ganghofer's Collected Writings . Anniversary edition and popular edition in 12 volumes. Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart 1914.

Posthumous publications

  • Highland magic. Stories from the mountains . Franke, Berlin 1931.
  • Mountain home. Experienced and listened to . Franke, Berlin 1933.
  • The wagoner. Highland history . Knaur, Berlin 1942.


Musical / theater

  • Salt saga - an alpine myth becomes music , under this title a musical based on the novel Der Mann im Salz was set up based on an idea by Rosenheim author Nikolaus Bielka, the music for it was composed by the big band leader Klaus Ammann with texts by the director Barbara Mende. In the summer of 2003 the play had 180 performances in a large theater tent in Schönau am Königssee .
  • The Martinsklause , the novel was adapted by Max Reichenwallner for an open-air performance as a play in two actsandperformed in summer 2010as part of the " National Park Festival" on the Hintersee in Ramsau near Berchtesgaden .

Film adaptations

Ganghofer is one of the most filmed German authors. Some of Ganghofer's novels were filmed as silent films in the 1910s and 1920s. Numerous homeland films from the 1950s - in the wake of the cinema miracle - are film adaptations of his novels. The last major Ganghofer films to date were made in the 1970s ( Hubertus Castle , Der Jäger von Fall , Waldrausch ).


  • Leonhard Lenk:  Ganghofer, Ludwig. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 6, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1964, ISBN 3-428-00187-7 , p. 60 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Franz Loquai (ed.): The Alps . A landscape and its people in texts by German-speaking authors of the 18th and 19th centuries. Quote from Ludwig Ganghofer: The encounter from Der Klosterjäger as well as the critical epilogue to Ganghofer see pages 477-480. Goldmann Verlag, Munich 1996. ISBN 3-442-07659-5
  • Astrid Pellengahr / Jürgen Kraus: The other side of a cliché - the writer Ludwig Ganghofer. Volume 6 of the Kaufbeurer series of publications by the Stadtarchiv and Heimatverein Kaufbeuren, published by Bauer-Verlag Thalhofen, ISBN 978-3-934509-36-8
  • Emil Karl Braito: Ludwig Ganghofer and his time. Löwenzahn Verlag, Innsbruck 2005. ISBN 3-7066-2388-9
  • Gerd Thumser : Ludwig Ganghofer. Alpine king and cinema fanatic, Ludwig Ganghofer (1855–1920) on his 150th birthday. Bachmaier Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-931680-46-0
  • Werner Koch : Ganghofer's attitude. Presentation in two parts (= treatises of the class of literature, Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. Volume 5), Steiner Verlag, Wiesbaden 1979.
  • Jürgen Kraus, Astrid Pellengahr (ed.): The downside of a cliché. The writer Ludwig Ganghofer. (= Kaufbeurer series of publications. Volume 6), Bauer-Verlag, Thalhofen 2005, ISBN 978-3-934509-36-8 .
  • Peter Mettenleiter : Destruction of the local poetry . Typological studies on Gotthelf, Auerbach, Ganghofer (= studies by the Ludwig Uhland Institute of the University of Tübingen. Volume 34), Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde eV, Tübingen 1974.

Web links

Wikisource: Ludwig Ganghofer  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Ludwig Ganghofer  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ City of Kaufbeuren - 1 Kaufbeuren. Retrieved July 24, 2020 .
  2. Ganghofer , short article in Stadtlexikon Augsburg , online at
  3. ^ Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume II: Artists. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , p. 234.
  4. Dissertation: The assessment, which fish species ' s Gargantua , as well as his relationship to Rabelais found in literary history. Augsburg: Kremer 1880. See also: Ludwig Ganghofer: Johann Fischart and his Germanization of the Rabelais. Theodor Ackermann, Munich 1881.
  5. ^ Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume II: Artists. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , pp. 233, 234.
  6. Ganghofer locations: 6 Munich 1893-1919
  7. Open letter to Peter Rosegger from the Carpathian Front [1]
  8. Ernst Piper : Anti-Democrats - Until the bitter end. in Der Tagesspiegel of August 31, 2007
  9. Ludwig Ganghofer - a Tegernsee!
  10. Ludwig Ganghofer House
  11. Sketchbook 1919 and 1920. Furniture for the "Villa Maria" in Tegernsee, among other things,   Munich City Library / Monacensia; Nachl. Ludwig Ganghofer
  12. Frank Westenfelder: The Chronicle of Wilhelminism.
  13. Kaufbeurer delegation at the regional association conference of the German Evangelical Women's Association City tour in Aschaffenburg
  14. Information from the Aschaffenburg City Archives 1993
  15. Ganghofer locations: 1 Kaufbeuren 1855-1859
  16. Stefan Murr, epilogue to: The Secret Sisters, 3rd edition Bern 1994, p. 349 ff. With images; Notes in: Emil Karl Braito, Ludwig Ganghofer und seine Zeit, Innsbruck 2005, p. 157
  17. Ludwig Ganghofer, curriculum vitae of an optimist, u. a. Vienna 1953, p. 470, and the previous references
  18. Available as an extract from
  19. ^ Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv, BG Innere Stadt, estate files, A4 140/1877.
  20. See above all the extensive foreword in: Anna L. Staudacher: Jewish converts in Vienna 1782-1868, Peter Lang Verlag.
  21. On leaving Judaism cf. the exit register of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Vienna, registration office.
  22. listed and partially illustrated in: Klaus Zimmermanns, Friedrich August von Kaulbach 1850–1920, monograph and catalog raisonné, Munich 1980, pp. 108, 125, 236, 244, 263, 281
  23. Georg Gaugusch , Who Once Was, The Jewish Upper Citizenship of Vienna 1800–1938, AK, Vienna 2011, p. 548, fn
  24. ^ Illustration in Andreas Abele and Jörg Wedekind, Ludwig Ganghofers Jagdbuch, Rosenheim 1978, p. 61
  25. ↑ Inauguration of the monument under Kurznachrichten , Vossische Zeitung , evening edition, July 7, 1925, p. 3.
  26. Official festival homepage ( Memento from June 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) for the open-air performance Die Martinsklause as part of the “ National Park Festival” 2003, online at
  28. ↑ Film adaptation of The Violin Maker of Mittenwald
  29. ↑ Film adaptation of The Special