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Hans Fallada
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Author
    (July 21, 1893-February 5, 1947)
    Born in Greifswald, Germany
    Birth name was Rudolf Wilhelm Friedrich Ditzen
    Wrote the novels 'Little Man, What Now?' (1932), 'Once We Had A Child' (1934), 'Wolf Among the Wolves' (1937), 'Every Man Dies Alone' (1947) and 'The Drinker' (published posthumously, 1952)
    Appointed interim mayor of Feldberg, East Germany, during the Soviet occupation (1945-46)
    When he was 18, he and his equally depressed best friend, Hans Dietrich von Necker, made a pact to kill each other in a duel, since it would be more honorable than suicide.
    Dietrich missed, Fallada hit and killed Dietrich, then shot himself in the chest with Dietrich's gun, but survived.
    He was found innocent of murdering Dietrich by reason of insanity.
    He twice went to jail for stealing from his employers to support his morphine addiction.
    He had multiple nervous breakdowns.
    His English publisher arranged for a boat to take him out of Nazi Germany, but he backed out at the last minute (1938).
    He was sent to a psychiatric hospital after firing a gun at his ex-wife during an argument (1944).
    When he was 16, he was run over by a horse-drawn cart and kicked in the face by the horse.
    His mother's reaction to his attempting suicide and killing his friend in the process: 'Thank God, at least nothing sexual.'
    The Nazis declared him an 'undesirable author,' banning his work from being published abroad.
    While in the mental hospital, he got writing materials by convincing the authorities that he had been commissioned to write an anti-semitic novel by Joseph Goebbels.
    Instead, he wrote three books, including an anti-Nazi memoir that he wrote in between the lines of the other books, upside down and backwards to encode the text.
    Primo Levi called 'Every Man Dies Alone' 'the greatest book ever written about the German resistance to the Nazis.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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