Walter Kolbenhoff

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Walter Kolbenhoff (actually Walter Hoffmann, born May 20, 1908 in Berlin ; † January 29, 1993 in Germering ) was a German writer , journalist and radio editor .


Kolbenhoff, who came from a working-class family, completed an apprenticeship as a chemigrapher and, after passing his journeyman's examination in 1926, spent several years as a casual worker through Europe , North Africa and Asia Minor . In 1929 he joined the KPD , was a freelancer for the Rote Fahne , and since 1930 has been writing reports for Vorwärts and other Berlin newspapers and magazines. In 1933 he emigrated to Copenhagen , where his novel Untermenschen (1933) was written, which he had published at the urging of his friend Wilhelm Reich . The defeatist tone of the novel in relation to the world revolution led to his expulsion from the KPD. Despite this exclusion, Kolbenhoff followed their call to return to Germany, became a Wehrmacht soldier in 1942 and was taken prisoner by the Americans near Monte Cassino in 1944 .

Kolbenhoff spent the next two years in internment camps in the USA , where he met Alfred Andersch and Hans Werner Richter . He became an employee of their camp magazine Der Ruf: newspaper of German prisoners of war in the USA . After his return to Germany he was editor of the Neue Zeitung in Munich until 1949 , and in 1947 he finished his novel Von unserm Fleisch und Blut . The manuscript had already won a prize of 3,000 RM, donated by the Swedish Bermann-Fischer Verlag , in 1946 . He was a permanent employee of the magazine Der Ruf, newly founded by Andersch and Richter - independent newspapers of the younger generation and was committed, among other things, to the construction of a democratic-socialist Germany. When the magazine was temporarily banned, he was one of the authors that Hans Werner Richter gathered around him in September 1947 to found a successor magazine under the title The Scorpion . Group 47 developed from its founding meeting, and Kolbenhoff subsequently took part in its regular meetings. His wife, the journalist and translator Isolde Kolbenhoff (* 1922) was also present at the founding meeting.

From 1949, Kolbenhoff worked as a freelance writer, editor and translator from Danish and English. In 1984 his autobiography Schellingstrasse 48 - Experiences with Germany was published .

His grave is in the St. Martin cemetery in Germering.


  • 1930 The Backyard (novel)
  • 1933 sub-humans (novel)
  • 1936 Modern Ballads (collection of poems)
  • 1947 Of Our Flesh and Blood (novel)
  • 1949 homecoming abroad (novel)
  • 1960 The Headhunters (novel)
  • 1970 The Weekend (novel)
  • 1984 Schellingstraße 48 (autobiographical)
  • 1988 Pictures from a panopticon. Grotesques and stories. (Short stories)



  • Werner Brand: The writer as an advocate for the poor and the oppressed. On the life and work of Walter Kolbenhoff . Peter Lang, Frankfurt / M. 1991, ISBN 3-631-44208-4 (also dissertation, University of Mainz, 1990)
  • Alfred Kantorowicz , Richard Drews: "Forbidden and burned" - German literature suppressed for 12 years , Ullstein / Kindler, Berlin / Munich, 1947, p. 96
  • Gabriele Schultheiß: The muse as rubble woman: Investigation of rubble literature using the example of Walter Kolbenhoff . Hochschulschr .: Frankfurt am Main, Univ. 1984, dissertation 1982.
  • Walter Kolbenhoff , in: Internationales Biographisches Archiv 16/1993 from April 12, 1993 (mi), in the Munzinger Archive ( beginning of article freely available)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Walter Kolbenhoff , at Munzinger
  2. Werner Brand: The writer as a lawyer for the poor and oppressed. On the life and work of Walter Kolbenhoff . Peter Lang, Frankfurt / M. 1991; P. 27f. (Kolbenhoff's résumé is presented on pp. 6–51)
  3. Gabriele Schultheiß: The Muse as Trümmerfrau , 1984, p. 35
  4. Isolde Kolbenhoff at DNB
  5. Werner Brand: The writer as a lawyer for the poor and oppressed. On the life and work of Walter Kolbenhoff . Peter Lang, Frankfurt / M. 1991, pp. 43-51.
  6. Gerd Otto-Rieke: Graves in Bavaria . Munich 2000, p. 112.