Skip to main content

Elizabeth Petuchowski Collection of Wolfgang Hildesheimer Material

Identifier: GA-05-01

Scope and Content

Materials relating to German author Wolfgang Hildesheimer collected by Elizabeth Petuchowski including clippings and copies of articles.


  • Creation: 1955-1994


Language of Materials

The records are in English

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Biography of Wolfgang Hildesheimer

Wolfgang Hildesheimer, novelist, playwright, and painter. He became know for his satirical writings in the post-World War II era and then for his biographies of Mozart and Sir Andrew Marbot.

Hildesheimer was born December 9, 1916 in Hamburg, Germany, but he was raised in Berlin, Nijmegen, and Mannheim. Hildesheimer, along with his family, emigrated to England in 1933 and moved on to Palestine in the same year. At 18, he began training as a carpenter and interior decorator in Jerusalem, but in his early 20s he began studying art and stage design in Salzburg and then London. He then worked as an English teacher at the British Institute in Tel Aviv and in 1943, became an information officer in the British Public Information Office in Jerusalem. In 1946, he took a job that would undoubtedly come to affect his literary career when he was hired as an interpreter at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

From 1950 on, he worked as an artist and freelance writer. Hildesheimer's earliest works were satirical. He published a series of short stories, Lieblose Legenden (Loveless Legends) in 1952. His only novel, Paradies der falschen Voegel (Paradise of Dissemblers), was published in 1953. Hildesheimer also wrote plays for stage and radio including Der Drachenthron (Throne of Dragons, 1955), and Nachtstueck (Nightpiece, 1963). Hildesheimer's early works earned him membership in Gruppe 47, an informal group of German-speaking writers who wanted to reestablish Germany's literary traditions in the the post-World War II years.

Hildesheimers works became darker after 1957 and included several plays that have been called the "theater of the absurd." He also wrote two prose monologues Tynset (1965) and Masante (1973) in which the narrator was a German Jew attempting to escape the troubles of the Twentieth Century.

In 1975, Hildesheimer announced "the end of fiction" and he turned to biographical writing. His books on Mozart (1977) and Sir Andrew Marbot (1981) brought him international acclaim. In 1983, Hildesheimer stopped writing and spent his last years as a graphic artist.

Hildesheimer had emigrated to Switzerland in 1957. He was awarded Honorary Swiss citizen in 1982. His other awards include the Bremen Literature Prize (1966), Buechner Prize (1966), Bundescerdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the German Federal Republic, 1983). He died in Poschiavo, Switzerland on August 21, 1991.

His books include Loveless Legends (1952), Tynset (1965), Marbot (1981). His play "Mary Stuart" was presented at the Public Theater in New York City in 1981.


0.4 Linear Feet


Materials relating to German author Wolfgang Hildesheimer collected by Elizabeth Petuchowski

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into folder by subject.

Physical Location

Archives and Rare Books Library

Finding aid for the Elizabeth Petuchowski Collection of Wolfgang Hildesheimer Material
Edited Full Draft
Finding aid prepared by Archives and Rare Books staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Rare Books Library Repository

8th Floor Blegen Library
2602 University Circle
P.O. Box 210113
Cincinnati Ohio 45221-0113