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Peter Hacks (1928-2003) Biography


See index for SATA sketch: Born March 21, 1928, in Breslau, Germany; died August 28, 2003, in Berlin, Germany. Author. Hacks was an award-winning and popular East German dramatist best known for the play Ein Gespräch im Hau Stein über den abwesenden Herrn von Goethe ("A Conversation in the Stein Home about the Absent Mr. Goethe," 1976). Earning a Ph.D. at the University of Munich in 1951, he left West Germany in favor of communist East Germany in order to join his idol, Bertolt Brecht, who had asked him to join his Berliner Ensemble in East Berlin. Once there, Hacks began a long career of writing popular plays, with his early dramas strongly resembling the epic works of Brecht. Although he had rejected Western ways, he still found it hard to conform completely to the East's restrictions on creative expression, and during the mid-1960s he found his plays—even comedies such as Die Sorgen und die Macht ("The Anxieties and the Power," 1960)—subjected to critical attacks. Hacks therefore stopped writing dramas set in contemporary East Germany and instead penned plays in the classical mode in an effort to express Communist themes while still entertaining his audiences. This shift found success in such plays as Der Frieden ("Peace"), Die schöe Helena ("Beautiful Helena, 1964"), Margarete in Aix (1969), Adam und Eva (1973), Ein Gespräch (1976), and Fredegunde (1982). Many of these and other works are collected in such publications as Die späten Stücke (1999) and Hacks Werke (2003). Hacks was also the author of television and radio plays, verse collections such as Poesiealbum (1972) and Der blaue Hund (1987), and over a dozen books for children, such as Der Bär auf dem Försterball (1972) and Onkel Mo (1986). For his considerable contributions as a writer Hacks was the recipient of several honors, including the Lessingpreis (1956), the Nationalpreis second class (1974) and first class (1977), the Heinrich Mann prize (1981), and the Alex Wedding prize from the Academy of Arts in Berlin (1993).



Independent (London, England), September 19, 2003, p. 18.

Times (London, England), September 18, 2002.

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