Hermann Georg

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HERMANN, GEORG (pen name of Georg Borchardt ; 1871–1943), German novelist, essayist, and art historian; brother of Ludwig *Borchardt. Born in Berlin, Hermann lived there until 1933, when he immigrated to Holland. After the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, he was first deported to the Westerbork concentration camp and later to Auschwitz, where he died. Hermann's life and literary work were rooted in the liberal bourgeoisie of Berlin, and his novels have sociological as well as artistic value. He had psychological insight and a gift for minute description of detail, and his poetic realism differed sharply from the naturalist school of writers' emphasis on daily life. Hermann published essays on the fine arts, sketches, and short stories; his most successful works were the novel Jettchen Gebert (1906) and its sequel, Henriette Jacoby (1908). This work portrays a cultivated Berlin Jewish family in the 1840s in the tradition of the family novels of Theodor Fontane and Thomas Mann. The modern Jewish intellectual, with his many inner complexities, appears in the novel Die Nacht des Dr. Herzfeld (1912) and its sequel, Schnee (1921). In 1928 Hermann returned to history in Traenen um Modesta Zamboni, the scene of which is Potsdam in the reign of Frederick the Great. Hermann considered himself a Jew without being religious. Critical toward both German and Jewish nationalist attitudes, he believed German Jews to be an integral part of the German people without having to neglect the intrinsic value of their particular tradition and experience.

add. bibliography:

G. Weiss-Sussex, Georg Hermann – Deutsch-juedischer Schriftsteller und Journalist 1871–1943 (2004); idem, Georg Hermann's Berlin Novels (2001); K. Schoor, Der Schriftsteller Georg Hermann (1999); C.G. van Liere, Georg Hermann – Materialien zur Kenntnis seines Lebens und Werkes (1974).

[Rudolf Kayser /

Bjoern Siegel (2nd ed.)]