Thursday, June 7, 2018

Born Today June 7: Max Kretzer

Kretzer in 1897


German writer Max Kretzer was born on this day in Posen, Prussia (now Poznan, Poland) to what was then a marginally middle class family. By the time Kretzer was 13, the family had become deeply impoverished and moved to Berlin; forced to leave school he became a factory worker for the next 12 years of his young life.  This left an indelible mark on Kretzer's mind.  He suffered an injury in an accident, and despite his lack of formal education, he began to write around 1879.  He started off producing short stories in a style that would become known as "social realism," but graduated to writing novels, the main characters of which were often the urban working types that he had encountered in the ever growing industrialism of Berlin. He also wrote novels in what has been labeled "Christian socialism"--the basic tenants of which is that Christ would fight the onslaught of modernism--what Kretzer thought was degeneration due to industrialism.  This way of philosophising about the "end" of the industrial revolution wouldn't
have seemed it at the time, but eventually would lead to some of the basic claims and tenants of national socialism--or Nazism--in Germany.  In fact, by the early 1930's Kretzer was an open, if not enthusiastic, supporter of the Nazis and would remain so for the rest of his life (about 10 years). Also during his lifetime, he would see his work made into four films, the first of which was Das Armband in 1918, released in January during the last year of World War I.  In fact, despite that the war would not end until the middle of November, three of the four above mentioned films based on his work were released in 1918.  The other two films are: Die Buchhalterin and Die Kunst zum Heiraten. The only film made of his work (so far) in any other language than German came in 1925 with The Man Without A Conscience a Warner production here in the U.S. directed by James Flood, starring June Marlowe and Irene Rich and based on one of his short stories.  The only other film to be produced from his work (again, to date) was the 1980 West German made for television film Meister Timpe based on his most successful novel.  Ketzer died in the throes of World War II in Berlin on the 15th of July, 1941 at the age of 87. He is buried in a huge family plot in Berlin's Luisenfriedhof II (or Westend Cemetery) listed under his name.

[Wikipedia-German entry]

Wikipedia (includes a near complete list of works)

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