Born on July 21, 1893, Hans Fallada was one of the famous writers in the first half of the 20th century. Most of his novels were written in German and only 11 of them were translated in English, one of them was “Every Man Dies Alone.” The said novel was first published in 1947. But it was only in 2009 that it was translated in the English language by Michael Hoffman.
Shortly after Fallada completed it, he died in Berlin due to heart failure on the 5th of February 1947.
Life of Hans Hallada
Hans Fallada’s birth name was Rudolf Wilhelm Adolf Ditzen. His pseudonym was derived from the characters in the Grimm fairy tales: Lucky Hans (the protagonist) and Falada (a horse) in the Goose Girl.
Parents and siblings
He was the third of four children. His father, Wilhelm Ditzen, was an educated judge, while his mother came from a middle-class family. His parents were fond of music and literature. He and his siblings would often listen to their father when he read them aloud children works, including those written by Shakespeare and Schiller.
His family moved from Greifswald to Berlin in 1899 when his father became a Supreme Court judge. When he first entered school in 1901, he had a difficulty coping so he read books but avoided those works that were in line with his age.
When his father was appointed as a judge at the Constitutional Court, his family moved again from Berlin to Leipzig.
Accident and ailment
In 1909, Hans Fallada met a severe accident. A year after that, he suffered from typhoid fever. He also suffered from life-long drug problems.
Work of Hans Fallada
He started writing his first novel entitled “Der junge Goedeschal” (Young Goedeschal) in 1920. While writing it, he struggled with morphine addiction. He also lost his younger brother during this period.
In 1923, his second novel entitled “Anton und Gerda” was completed. During this time, he was accused and imprisoned for three months because of embezzling money.
His novel “Kleiner Mann, was nun?” (Little Man, What Now?) was released in 1932. It was a worldwide success.
From 1934 to 1943, he wrote 6 more novels, namely:
“Wer einmal aus dem Blechnapf frißt” (Who eats one of the tin cup)
“Wir hatten mal ein Kind” (We once had a child)
“Das Märchen vom Stadtschreiber, der aufs Land flog” (The Tale of the town clerk, who flew into the country)
Wolf unter Wölfen” (Wolf Among Wolves)
“Der eiserne Gustav” (The Iron Gustav)
“Der ungeliebte Mann” (The unpopular man)
“Ein Mann will hinauf” (A man will go up)
In 1946, he wrote the novels “Der Alpdruck” (The nightmare) and “Jeder stirbt fur sich allein” (Alone in Berlin). During this period, he was admitted to the psychiatric clinic because of drug and alcohol abuse.
A year after he wrote Alone in Berlin, he died of heart failure in Berlin-Niederschonhausen.