Fallada, Hans

born Rudolf Ditzen (1893-1947)
   novelist; best known for Kleiner Mann - was nun? (Little man, what now?), a novel dramatized, filmed, and widely translated. He was born in the Pomeranian city of Greifswald, where his father was a Prussian judge. Experiencing crises common to middle-class adolescents in prewar Germany, he planned a double suicide with a fellow Gymnasium student in Berlin*; his friend took his life. After studying agricul-ture, Fallada was variously employed as an auditor, bookkeeper, and grain mer-chant. Following imprisonment in 1923 for embezzlement, he became a local reporter in Neumünster. One assignment, involving the 1930 trial of the leader of a Schleswig-Holstein peasant movement, triggered his interest in the impact of the depression* on common people. Fallada continued his journalistic career until the success of Kleiner Mann - was nun?, his 1932 story of a jobless worker, allowed him to purchase an estate in Mecklenburg. He managed the estate until war forced his return to Berlin in 1944.
   Although he began writing as an Expressionist* in 1920, Fallada's success cen-tered on his realistic descriptions of contemporary problems. With his 1931 auto-biographical novel Bauern, Bonzen, und Bomben (Farmers, bosses, and bombs), his stories began depicting activities closely related to his own experiences. His best work cast a critical but humanistic eye on life's minor figures—peasants, un-employed bureaucrats, ex-convicts—all of whom seemed abandoned to uncon-trollable circumstances. These circumstances were the product of a lost war, hyperinflation, and the depression.
   Although Fallada was no friend of the NSDAP, he accommodated himself to the Third Reich by writing scripts and children's books. He also turned to al-cohol and, inducted in 1944, was confined in an institution for alcoholics shortly before the end of World War II.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Laqueur, Weimar; NDB, vol. 5.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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