Wagenstein, Angel 1922- (Angel Vagenshtain, Anzhel Wagenstein)

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Wagenstein, Angel 1922- (Angel Vagenshtain, Anzhel Wagenstein)


Born October 17, 1922, in Plowdiw, Bulgaria.


Screenwriter and writer.


Jean Monnet Award, 2004, for Farewell, Shanghai.


Sbogom, Shankhač, IK "Kolibri" (Sofia, Bulgaria), 2004, translation by Elizabeth Frank and Deliana Simeonova published as Farewell, Shanghai, Handsel Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Isaac's Torah: Concerning the Life of Isaac Jacob Blumenfeld through Two World Wars, Three Concentration Camps, and Five Motherlands, translated by Elizabeth Frank and Deliana Simeonova, Handsel Books (New York, NY), 2006.


Trevoga, Boyana Film, 1951.

Nasha Zemya, Boyana Film, 1952.

Septemvriytzi, Boyana Film, 1954.

Dve Pobedi, Boyana Film, 1956.

Zakonat na Moreto, Boyana Film, 1958.

Rebro Adamovo, Boyana Film, 1958.

Sterne, Boyana Film, 1959.

Snezhniyat Chovek, Boyana Film, 1960.

Bouket Zvezdi, Sofia Feature Studios, 1962.

Dvama Pod Nebeto, Boyana Film, 1962.

Verigata, Boyana Film, 1964.

Chronik eines Mordes, Deutsche Film, 1965.

Der Kleine Prinz, Deutscher Fernsehfunk, 1966.

Heimlichkeiten, Boyana Film, 1968.

Ezop, Boyana Film, 1970.

Goya—Oder Der Arge Weg Der Erkenntnis, Bosna Film, 1971.

Eolomea, Deutsche Film, 1972.

Na Zhivot i Smart, BNT, 1974.

Komiks, Boyana Film, 1975.

Dopalnenie Kam Zakona za Zashtita na Darzhavata, Boyana Film, 1976.

Zvezdi v Kosite, Salzi v Ochite, Boyana Film, 1977.

Kontzert za Fleyta i Momiche, Boyana Film, 1980.

Boris I, AAVC, 1985.

Bordelo, Greek Film Center, 1985.

Mglistye Berega, Boyana Film, 1986.

Shanghai 1937, Durniok Produktion, 1996.

Sled Kraja na Sveta, BNT, 1998.


Angel Wagenstein is a Bulgarian screenwriter and writer. Born in Plowdiw, Bulgaria, on October 17, 1922, Wagenstein has written several novels and dozens of television scripts and screenplays.

In 2004 Wagenstein published Sbogom, Shankhač, which was translated into English in 2007 by Elizabeth Frank and Deliana Simeonova and published as Farewell, Shanghai. The novel received the Jean Monnet Award in 2004. The novel highlights the lives of several refugees and émigrés in Shanghai during World War II. As in many of his films, Wagenstein populates his story with a large cast of characters, covering a multitude of ethnic backgrounds. The novel introduces a pair of German musicians, the virtuoso violinist Theodore Weissberg and his wife, mezzosoprano Elisabeth Weissberg, who leave Dresden for Shanghai's ghettos in hopes of earning enough to live on while avoiding Nazi prosecution. Another couple, German-Jewish actress Hilde Braun, who lives illegally in Paris, and her mysterious Slavic boyfriend, Vladek, also both make a run for Shanghai, but for different reasons independent of each other. Hungarian musician Istvan Keleti and former call girl-cum-baroness Gertrude von Dammbach flee Nazi persecution and seek refuge in Shanghai, despite the brutality of Imperial Japan in the city.

Clea Simon, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, commented that "for all its epic plotting and often oversize personalities, Farewell, Shanghai is not a sentimental book and, as was the case in reality, gives up few happy endings. With so many characters, the temptation toward melodrama might have undone a lesser writer, one who fell for his strong and sympathetic players. Instead, for Wagenstein, the strong connections between the characters illustrate not only the persistence of human nature but also the illogic of war." A contributor to the Complete Review Web site found the novel "a bit sweeping and broad, but [it] works fairly well." The same contributor concluded that "it certainly doesn't read like a contemporary novel (1950s is more like it), but between the action and the insight it's a perfectly fine read—and even if it's delivered on a platter, there are worse things. Fairly effective, with quite a few good (and many tragic) stories, Farewell, Shanghai is an interesting would-be period-piece." A contributor to Publishers Weekly remarked that "Wagenstein brings to life a largely unknown chapter of Nazi persecution," adding that he moves the setting from Nazi Germany to occupied Shanghai "effortlessly." A critic writing in Kirkus Reviews described the story as "a patchy combination of terrible truth and predictable romance that falls short of the tragic impact the real story deserves." Marika Zemke, writing in Library Journal, "recommended" the novel, noting that it "sheds light on a forgotten part of history that is only now becoming known."

Also translated into English by Frank and Simeonova is another book, Isaac's Torah: Concerning the Life of Isaac Jacob Blumenfeld through Two World Wars, Three Concentration Camps, and Five Motherlands, which was published in 2006.



Booklist, October 15, 2007, Mark Knoblauch, review of Farewell, Shanghai, p. 32.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2007, review of Farewell, Shanghai.

Library Journal, October 15, 2007, Marika Zemke, review of Farewell, Shanghai, p. 57.

Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2007, review of Farewell, Shanghai, p. 39.

San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 2007, Clea Simon, review of Farewell, Shanghai, p. E2.


Complete Review,http://www.complete-review.com/ (July 2, 2008), review of Farewell, Shanghai.

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (July 2, 2008), author profile.