German poet, memoirist, painter, sculptor & musician Günter Ullmann died last week. He was born in East Germany in 1946 and as he writes: “My mother was a Christian, my father was a party member, so I prayed for the victory of the Algerian FLN over the French colonialists.” In 1966, inspired by the Beatles, he started his own band (called “media nox” after the first name “the rats” was forbidden by the powers that be), but soon fell afoul of the DDR’s thought police who didn’t condone his lyrics and poems. The battle for economic and psychic survival took its toll, and even after the fall of the DDR, Ullmann suffered from severe depression and persecution phobia. But he battled on and his work — as writer and visual artist — found success. In his last years his writing turned to autobiography & memoir. If you have German you can read an autobiographical essay by Ullmann, published in the SüdDeutsche Zeitung here. As far as I know none of his books are available in English.
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