Heinz G. Konsalik

Heinz G. Konsalik, pseudonym of Heinz Günther (28 May 1921 – 2 October 1999) was a German novelist. Konsalik was his mother's maiden name. During the Second World War he was a war correspondent, which provided many experiences for his novels. Many of his books deal with war and showed the German human side of things as experienced by their soldiers and families at home, for instance Das geschenkte Gesicht (The bestowed face) which deals with a German soldier's recovery after his sledge ran over an anti-personnel mine and destroyed his face, and how this affected his relationship with his wife at home. It places no judgment on the German position in the war and simply deals with human beings in often desperate situations, doing what they were forced to do under German military law. Der Arzt von Stalingrad (The Doctor of Stalingrad) made him famous and was adapted as a movie in 1958. Some 83 million copies sold of his 155 novels made him the most popular German novelist of the postwar era and many of his novels were translated and sold through book clubs. He is buried in Cologne. At the age of 16, Günther wrote feature articles for Cologne newspapers. In 1938 he published what he considered his “first usable poem.” On 31 August 1939 he completed the heroic tragedy Der Geuse (“The Beggar”) as a senior secondary student. He then joined the Hitler Youth, Area 11, Middle Rhine Valley. In December 1939 he started working for the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police. His next drama, which he completed in March 1940, was called Gutenberg. In the same year Günther sought membership in the Nazi writer's union, the Reich Chamber of Writers (Reichsschrifttumskammer) but was initially rejected due to the limited scope of his literary work. Later, however, having met the requirements, he received the chamber membership required for regular publication of literary works. After graduating from the Humboldt-Gymnasium in Cologne, which required membership in the Nazi party and the teaching of its discredited but then pervasive racial theories, he studied medicine and later switched to theatre studies, literary history and German literature.
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