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Heinrich Böll
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    (December 21, 1917-July 16, 1985)
    Born in Cologne, Germany
    Wrote the novels ‘And Never Said a Word’ (1952), ‘The Bread of Those Early Years’ (1955), ‘Billiards at Half-Past Nine’ (1959), ‘The Clown’ (1963), ‘Group Portrait with Lady; (1971), ‘The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum’ (1975), and ‘The Safety Net’ (1978)
    President of PEN International (1971-73)
    Won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1972)
    Salman Rushdie described his plots as ‘too programmatic.’
    His depictions of the negative side of capitalism made him a popular author in the Soviet bloc; he was reportedly the best-selling Western contemporary writer in the USSR.
    He rejected the Order of Merit from West Germany (1979), saying ‘Medals don’t suit me. I’m not that kind of guy.’
    Many of his personal papers were destroyed when the Cologne Archives building collapsed (2009).
    He refused to join the Hitler Youth.
    After being drafted during World War II, he was wounded four times and contracted typhoid fever.
    He and his wife Annemarie collaborated on translating books by J.D. Salinger, Bernard Malamud and other English-language authors into German.
    Police searched his home after he wrote that terrorist Ulrike Meinhof was entitled to a fair trial.
    When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the Soviet Union, he first took refuge at Böll’s home in Eifel, Germany.

Credit: C. Fishel

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