Simon Yussuf Assaf

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Simon Yussuf Assaf, 2003

Simon Yussuf Assaf (born December 16, 1938 in Yahchouch, Lebanon ; † December 29, 2013 in Jounieh , Lebanon) mediated as a Lebanese priest and poet between the Orient and the Occident.


In his more than 30 years at the Beirut Goethe-Institut , Yussuf Assaf has dedicated himself to cultural exchange. As the person responsible for the cultural program, he invited German-speaking artists and speakers to Lebanon. Although most foreign cultural institutions remained closed during the 15-year civil war , he and his colleagues kept the Goethe-Institut open despite the great risk.

Yussuf Assaf was already interested in German culture as a student at the Beirut Jesuit University of St. Joseph. He applied for a scholarship in Germany but received one from the French university in Strasbourg . There he did his doctorate with a dissertation on comparative religion . At the same time he taught at the University of Freiburg as a lecturer for the Arabic language in the Islamic Studies faculty. There he met his future wife Ursula Nowak, who was doing her doctorate in this subject.

They married in 1972 and moved to Lebanon in 1974, where he worked at the Goethe Institute and she at the University of St. Esprit . In their free time they translate texts by Lebanese authors such as B. Amin al-Rihani , Mikhail Nuaimi , Said Akl , Akl Jurr , Fuad Suleiman and Fuad Rifka . They translated his complete works (e.g. The Prophet ) and his correspondence from Arabic into German by the world-famous Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran . In Lebanon they gave readings for German tour groups and during the summer holidays in Germany readings by Arab and Lebanese authors. They translated numerous other works from Arabic into German.

Yussuf Assaf died on Sunday, December 29, 2013, shortly after his 75th birthday.

Lyric work

In his poems, Simon Yussuf Assaf evokes the beauty and rich history of his Lebanese homeland. A much-quoted poem, for example, is Orient from See the Nightingale, brother . In numerous other texts he sings about love - such as B. in the poem dream you are from your songs are my songs .

Simon Yussuf Assaf was a Maronite priest who saw himself less in the service of the institution than in the service of people, of people regardless of religion or denomination. Many of his poems are poetic prayers or modern psalms, such as the poem Lord from Melodies of Life .



  • S. Yussuf Assaf: La notion de l'aumone chez les Mesopotamiens, les Phéniciens et dans l'Ancien Testament . Strasbourg 1967 (doctoral thesis).
  • S. Yussuf Assaf: I am a singing bird . 2nd Edition. Ars Edition, Munich 1969.
  • S. Yussuf Assaf: On the bank of the Adonis . Imp. St. Paul, Jounieh / Lebanon 1977.
  • Ursula Assaf-Nowak: Arab fairy tales from the Orient . Fischer TB-Verlag, Frankfurt 1977, ISBN 3-596-21987-6 .
  • Ursula Assaf-Nowak, Simon Yussuf Assaf (Hrsg.): Fairy tales from Lebanon (=  fairy tales of world literature ). 1st edition. Eugen Diederichs, Düsseldorf / Cologne 1978, ISBN 3-424-00611-4 .
  • Ursula Assaf-Nowak: Arab fairy tales from North Africa . Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1978, ISBN 3-596-22802-6 .
  • Ursula Assaf-Nowak (Ed.): Arabian ghost stories . Orig. Edition. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-596-22826-3 .
  • Ursula Assaf-Nowak (ed.): Ships to the other bank: Seal from Lebanon . Orig. Edition edition. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau Basel Vienna 1980, ISBN 3-451-07826-0 .
    • Ǧibrān Ḫalīl Ǧibrān, Ursula Assaf-Nowak (ed.): In the shadow of the cedars: words of wisdom . Benziger, Zurich Düsseldorf 1999, ISBN 3-545-20161-9 (third edition under other title).
  • Siman Yūsuf Assaf, Ursula Assaf-Nowak: Lubnān: Chants from Lebanon . Grazer Druckerei, Graz 1982.
  • Khalil Gibran: Rebellious Spirits . Walter Verlag, Olten / Switzerland 1983.
  • Ǧibrān Ḫalīl Ǧibrān (Ed.): The Khalil Gibran Reader . Walter, Olten Freiburg im Breisgau 1983, ISBN 3-530-26727-9 (excerpts).
  • Simon Yussuf Assaf: See the nightingale, brother . 1st edition. Kreuz-Verlag, Stuttgart 1985, ISBN 3-7831-0804-7 .
6th edition 2006, Imp. St. Paul, Jounieh / Lebanon
  • Ǧibrān H̲alīl Ǧibrān: Broken wings . Walter, Olten; Freiburg im Breisgau 1985, ISBN 3-530-26717-1 .
  • Mansour Labaky: Kfar Sama: Village of Heaven . Ed .: Ursula Assaf-Nowak. 1st edition. Horizonte-Verlag, Rosenheim 1988, ISBN 3-926116-09-9 .
  • Bernhard Welte: songs of the night, songs of the day . Imp. St. Paul, Jounieh / Lebanon 1988 (with watercolors by the author and French translation).
  • Khalil Gibran: Jesus Son of Man . Walter Verlag, Olten / Switzerland 1988.
  • Mikhail Nuaime: Dialogue at sunset . Walter Verlag, Olten / Switzerland 1990.
  • Fuad Rifka: Diary of a wood collector . Heiderhoff Verlag, Eisingen 1990 (Arabic, German).
  • Mansour Labaky: Nassim, a child is indicting . Knecht Verlag, Frankfurt / M. 1992.
  • Khalil Gibran: A tear and a smile . Walter Verlag, Olten / Switzerland 1992.
  • Khalil Gibran: Gods of the Earth . Walter Verlag, Olten / Switzerland 1993.
  • Khalil Gibran: The Harbinger . Walter Verlag, Olten / Switzerland 1994.
  • Fuad Rifka: Poems by an Indian . Heiderhoff Verlag, Eisingen 1994 (Arabic, German).
  • Amin Rihani: The donkey driver and the priest . Walter Verlag, Zurich and Düsseldorf 1995.
  • Khalil Gibran: The storms . Walter Verlag, Zurich and Düsseldorf 1996.
  • Khalil Gibran: Earth and Soul / Wonderful Stories . Walter Verlag, Zurich and Düsseldorf 1996.
  • Khalil Gibran: The light shines behind the veil of night (text selection) . Ed .: Ursula and Yussuf Assaf. Herder Verlag, Freiburg i. Br. 1997.
  • Khalil Gibran: The Prophet . 2nd Edition. Patmos Verlag / Walter Verlag, Düsseldorf / Zurich 2002, ISBN 3-530-26803-8 (English: The Prophet . New York 1923. Translated by Ursula Assaf-Nowak, illustrated edition with watercolors that Khalil Gibran painted himself).
  • Amin Rihani: The donkey driver and the priest . Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-491-45002-0 (Arabic: Al-Makari wal-Kahen . 1904. Translated by Ursula and Yussuf Assaf).
  • Simon Yussuf Assaf: Your songs are my songs . Ed .: S. and U. Assaf. Imprimerie St. Paul, Jounieh 2003.
  • Khalil Gibran: Complete Works . Ed .: Ursula and Simon Yussuf Assaf. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2003, ISBN 3-491-50701-4 .
  • Khalil Gibran: Jesus Son of Man . Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2006, ISBN 3-491-50717-0 (English: Jesus the Son of Man . Translated by Ursula Assaf).
  • Khalil Gibran: Through the year with Khalil Gibran . Ed .: Ursula and Simon Yussuf Assaf. Patmos Verlag, Düsseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-491-50723-4 .
  • Simon Yussuf Assaf: Melodies of Life . Ed .: Simon and Ursula Assaf. 1st edition. Echter Verlag, Würzburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-429-03288-3 .
  • Khalil Gibran: Just a Secret of Life . Ed .: Ursula and Simon Yussuf Assaf. 1st edition. Patmos-Verlag, Düsseldorf 2012, ISBN 978-3-8436-0237-2 .
  • Khalil Gibran: Those who never see suffering will never see joy . Ed .: Ursula and Yussuf Assaf. 2nd Edition. Patmos-Verlag, Düsseldorf 2013, ISBN 978-3-8436-0176-4 .
  • Simon Yussuf Assaf: Sow love, reap happiness . 1st edition. Echter, Würzburg, ISBN 978-3-429-04349-0 (poems).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Office of the Federal President