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Hermann Kesten
Sample Autograph Signature:
Hermann  Kesten signature
Hermann Kesten
'German novelist, playwright, publisher, essayist and humanitarian. Hermann Kesten ( - ) was born into a Jewish family in Podwo�oczyska, Galicia, then part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and now Pidwolotschisk in the Ukraine. His family relocated to Nuremberg, Germany in . After attending elementary school he entered the local K�niglich Alten-Gymnasium. Dissatisfied with the authoritarian and conformist environment at the school, he left in before taking his graduation examinations, and in September began studying jurisprudence and political economy at the University of Erlangen. In September he transferred to the University of Frankfurt on Main where he studied history, German language and literature, and philosophy until . His father had died in Poland in fighting in WWI and by 21 post-war inflation had left his mother in poverty. Between and he worked with his mother in her second-hand fur and platinum trade, and later traveled through Europe and North Africa. His first published work was a novella, Vergebliche Flucht (Futile Escape), which appeared in the Frankfurter Zeitung in . His debut novel, Josef sucht die Freiheit/ (Josef Seeks Freedom), was published in as the first novel in the tetralogy Das Ende eines gro�en Mannes (The End of a Great Man) which he completed in . Kesten moved to Berlin in where he worked as an author, and then as an editor with the Kiepenheuer publishing house. Until , Kesten also wrote short stories, some dramatic works, and contributed to numerous political and cultural journals of the Weimar Republic. Through his work with Kiepenheuer he had met many of Germany's noted contemporary writers, but fled to France in , then to Brussels and finally to Amsterdam where he headed the German department of the Allert de Lange publishing house, and also published the works of German emigrants competitively and cooperatively with the second largest Dutch exile publishing house, Querido. He wrote four more novels before being held in several internment French camps during as 'a hostile foreigner' and then fled to the U.S. the following year. There he lived primarily in New York serving (along with Thomas Mann) from until as an honorary advisor to the Emergency Rescue Committee, which sought to help German writers and other creative artists escape from the Gestapo. He did not resume writing novels until and wrote only 5 thereafter, his last being in . Kesten became a U.S. citizen in , but frequently visited Europe, becoming a member of the Academy of the Sciences and Literature in Mainz in , and a corresponding member of the German Academy for Language and Seal in Darmstadt. In , he settled in Rome where he remained until , but served as president of the Federal Republic of Germany's PEN, an international writers union, from until . Following his wife's death, he relocated to a Jewish retirement home in Basel, Switzerland. A prolific writer, Kesten wrote novels, 4 short story collections, 6 plays, a book of poetry and numerous essays and contributions to journals. He received honorary doctorates from University of attaining Nuremberg and University of Berlin.'
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