Biography of Peter Huchel
Huchel was born in Lichterfelde near Berlin. From 1923 to 1926 Huchel studied literature and philosophy in Berlin, Freiburg and Vienna. Between 1927 and 1930 he travelled to France, Romania, Hungary and Turkey. In 1930, he changed his first name to Peter and befriended Ernst Bloch, Alfred Kantorowicz and Fritz Sternberg. His early poems, published from 1931 to 1936, are strongly marked by the atmosphere and landscape of Brandenburg. In 1934, Huchel married Dora Lassel. The couple would divorce in 1946 and Huchel would marry Monica Rosental in 1953. Between 1934 and 1940, Huchel wrote plays for German radio. During the Second World War, he served as a soldier until he was taken prisoner by the Russians in 1945. After his release, he began working for East German radio and in 1949, he became editor of the influential poetry magazine Sinn und Form ("Sense and Form"). After the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, Huchel came under attack from the East German authorities and the following year he was forced to resign the editorshop of Sinn und Form. From 1962 to 1971, he lived in isolation under Stasi (secret service) surveillance in his house in Wilhelmshorst near Berlin. In 1971, he was finally permitted to leave the German Democratic Republic and move, first to Rome, then to Staufen im Breisgau, where he later died.
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The forest bitter, spiky,
no shore breeze, no foothills,
the grass grows matted, death will come
with horses' hooves, endlessly
over the steppes' mounds, we went back,
searching the sky for the fort
that could not be razed.
The villages hostile,