Becker, Jurek

Biography:

Jurek Becker one of the most important (East) German authors of the 20th century, was born in Poland in 1937. As a child he lived in the Jewish ghetto of Lodz, Poland, and survived the Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen concentration camps.

 

Many of Becker's novels, short stories and scripts for television and cinema productions focus on explorations of Jewish identity. His novel Jacob the Liar—published in 1969 and translated into twenty languages—established his reputation worldwide. Directed by Frank Beyer, the film adaptation became the only East German film ever nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

 

Becker's political protest following the exile of Wolf Biermann led to problems with publishing in the GDR, and he moved to West Berlin in 1977.

 

His 1986 novel, Bronstein's Children, was adapted for the screen by Jerzy Kawalerowicz in 1990. Two of his stories have been made into films as well: "The Wall" became Wenn alle Deutsche schlafen, directed by Frank Beyer; and "Romeo" became Andreas Dresen's student film So schnell es geht nach Istanbul. Becker received particular acclaim for Liebling Kreuzberg, a television series for which he wrote the first three and the fifth season and which starred Manfred Krug.

 

Since the author's death in 1997, his wife Christine Becker has edited and published a collection of her husband's letters ('Ihr Unvergleichlichen!' Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. 2004), followed by a collection of his essays, lectures and interviews, now available in English.

Awards:

1992 Order of Merit of the FRG
1991 Bundesfilmpreis - Filmband in Gold
1987 Adolf Grimme Prize, Gold, for Liebling Kreuzberg
1975 National Prize of the GDR
1971 Heinrich Mann Prize

 

Bibliography & More:

By Jurek Becker, available in English:

 

2010 My Father, the Germans and I: Essays, Lectures, Interviews. Ed. Christina Becker. (London/New York: Seagull Books)
2002 The Boxer (New York: Arcade)
1999 Bronstein's Children (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)
1990 Jacob the Liar (New York: Arcade)
1986 Sleepless Days (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)

Filmography:

1994 Wenn alle Deutschen schlafen (While All Germans Sleep)
1986-91 Liebling Kreuzberg (Darling Kreuzberg, TV series)
1990 Bronsteins Kinder (Bronstein's Children)
1990 So schnell geht es nach Istanbul (Shortcut to Istanbul)
1977 Das Versteck (The Hiding Place)
1974 Jakob der Lügner (Jacob the Liar)
1970 Meine Stunde Null  (My Zero Hour)
1968 Jungfer, sie gefällt mir (Maiden, You Please Me)
1956 Ohne Pass in fremden Betten (Without a Passport in Strange Beds)

 

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