Photo of Theodor Weissenborn

Theodor Weissenborn

Theodor Weissenborn was born in 1933 as the son of the academic painter Karl Weissenborn (1890-1973) and the art teacher Antonie Weissenborn, née Brungs (1907-1981). The family lived well-off in the middle-class home of the mother in Duesseldorf's city center. After the first bombing raids on Duesseldorf in 1941, the family moved to Deuna / Eichsfeld, where they lived in their parents' home village. After a brief stay in the mother's house in Duesseldorf and immediately after its destruction by bombs, the family moved in 1942 to Niederorschel, in a neighboring village of Deuna. In 1945, Weissenborn took part in a special course for the sons of teachers in the Bannschule Heiligenstadt and received the first prize because he could recite the reading book essay, "Aus dem Leben Adolf Hitlers" ("From the life of Adolf Hitler") by heart. Shortly thereafter, the invasion of the Americans took place. These withdrew a few weeks later and made room for the advancing Soviet troops. The family fled the SBZ to West Germany and found accommodation with an uncle of the mother near Coesfeld.

In April 1946, the family returned to Duesseldorf, and Weissenborn attended the Humanistic Jacobi High School, where he graduated in 1955, the final exam. Weissenborn wrote his first short stories, which soon appeared in newspapers and magazines. He read Hemingway, Borchert, Kolbenhoff and others, read the magazines HORIZONT, ​​ATHENAE and NEUE AUSLESE and - in the upper grades - with passion poetological and stylistic journals. He edited the school magazine, won first prizes in essay competitions for the Duesseldorf schools and got the privilege to make his essays freely, that is, he was allowed to write dialectical discussions in the form of dialog rich narrations. As the topic of the Abitur essay he chose the interpretation of an Ode of Hoelerlin "Der gefesselte Strom" ("The restrained stream"). In the oral examination, he was tested on Guardinis Rilke interpretation.

In the summer semester of 1955, Weissenborn studied art education at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Duesseldorf. The Academy bought one of his drawings. This is the drawing "Altstadthaeuser" ("Old town houses"), which appeared in 1976 on the cover of his book, "Der Waechter des Wals" ("The guardian of the whale"), Aufbau-Verlag Berlin and Weimar. He then changed the faculty and began studying German, Romance languages ​​and philosophy at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn during the winter semester of 1955/56. After a six-week marathon course at the University of Lausanne in 1956, he passed the Degré Supérieur de Français Moderne exam. He then studied from the winter semester 1956/57 Romance studies with Franz Rauhut in Wuerzburg. From the summer of 1957 he continued his studies in Bonn. This was followed by art historical studies with Heinrich Luetzeler and Herbert von Einem. He joined the student working group for new art and designed an alternative study program with a focus on the subjects of poetics, stylistics, rhetoric and recitation.

In 1961, Weissenborn published his first book, "Beinahe das Himmelreich" ("Almost the kingdom of heaven.") It is a collection of short stories that deal with the world of children and adolescents. The stories were translated into numerous languages, reprinted in newspapers and magazines, and broadcast by broadcasters both at home and abroad. He began working on "Außer Rufweite" ("Out of earshot"), a time-critical novel that plays in the Bonn student milieu. On December 9 he married Hildegard Weissenborn, née Siepmann, who brought her daughter into the marriage.

In 1962 followed a first study of the writings of Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung. Weissenborn left the Catholic Church. The following year Dieter Wellershoff offered him a place in, what later became known as the "Koelner Schule", a group of young authors founded by Wellershoff among them Rolf Dieter Brinkmann and Guenter Herburger. However, Weissenborn wanted to go his own way and refused. The following year Wolfgang Weyrauch became aware of Weissenborn and proofread "Außer Rufweite" ("Out of earshot"). The novel was published by Paul List in Munich and was praised and criticized by critics. The family moved to Cologne.

In 1965, Weissenborn developed the project of a literary panorama of mental suffering and began studying medical psychology and psychiatry at the Albertus Magnus University in Cologne. He quickly opposed the, taught in Cologne and still from the Nazi era, clinical psychiatry, which had been of Kurt Schneider and came from psychosomatic medicine (Alexander Mitscherlich) and Anglo-Saxon social psychiatry (Laing, Cooper, Bateson) to the anti-psychiatry of Franco Basaglias. On the basis of his observations in the Cologne psychiatry, he wrote in rapid succession a series of psychiatric critical radio plays that appear after productions by the NDR / WDR and other ARD institutions as a book under the title "Eine befleckte Empfängnis" ("A stained conception") in the fall of 1969 Diogenes in Zurich. At the invitation of progressive physicians and lecturers, Weissenborn was able to give guest lectures in numerous psychiatric hospitals and at numerous universities, while he spoke out against the treatment with electric shock, lobotomy and lobectomy and the same time propagated alternative social-psychiatric and anti-psychiatric forms of therapy.

In 1966 Weissenborn got a son, two years later a daughter. In 1969, the family moved to Landscheid in the Eifel.

Weissenborn tours the FRG, Austria and Switzerland as a cabaret artist and organizes weekend seminars in numerous colleges and church academies. Topics include "Sprache als Waffe oder Koennen Literaten die Gesellschaft veraendern?" ("Language as a Weapon or Can literati change society?"), "Krankheit als Protest / Psychische Leiden und ihre Ursachen im Spiegel neuer Literatur" ("Illness as protest / Mental illness and its causes in the mirror of new literature"), "Was nutzt und wem schadet verbale Aggression?" ("What uses and whom does Verbal aggression harm?"), "Sinnerfahrung in Lebenskrisen" ("Sensorality experience in life crises"), "Der beleidigte Eros" ("The insulted eros"), "Alter - Selbstkompetenz oder Sozialvollzug?" ("Age - self-competence or social work?"), "Religiosität und seelische Gesundheit" ("Religiosity and mental health"), "Blasphemie / Ueber den konstruktiven Umgang mit literarischen Aergernissen" ("Blasphemy / about the constructive handling of literary nuisances"), "Sprich, damit ich dich sehe! / Formen und Moeglichkeiten des Hoerspiels" ("Speak, so that I see you! / Forms and possibilities of the radio play") etc.

In 1971, Weissenborn was admitted to the PEN center Germany. In the following years more radio plays and, as before in Bonn and Cologne, numerous satires, parodies and grotesques originated, which appeared in numerous book editions next to other short stories and stories. The most important of these pieces were gradually translated into 26 languages ​​and broadcast by broadcasters around the world.

Between 1974 and 1976, Weissenborn systematically developed the contemporary psychological and psychotherapeutic literature with special reference to the works of Erich Fromm, Carl Rogers, Karen Horney, Erich Neumann, Josef Rattner and Horst Eberhard Richter.

Between 1977 and 1979, the novel "Als wie ein Rauch im Wind" ("As like a smoke in the wind"), written in the fall of 1979 by F.H. Kerle (Herder) in Freiburg in Breisgau and Heidelberg and later (in the fall of 1989) in the translation of Ryszard Turczyn at PIW in Warsaw appeared.

In 1980, Weissenborn decided to resume philosophical studies (Nicolai Hartmann, Max Scheler, Karl Jaspers, Martin Buber), dealt with the Gestalt psychology of Fritz Perls, with questions of bibliotherapy and poetry therapy in collaboration with Hilarion Petzold. In these years, numerous poems on questions of philosophy and conflict psychology, critical and religious critical texts and finally the essay "Das Sein ist das Nichts" ("The Being is the Nothing") with the subtitle "Explikation eines Paradoxons" ("Explication of a paradox"), which was published in 1984 by Wolfgang Fietkau in Berlin.

In 1986, Weissenborn ran in the parliamentary election campaign in the constituency of Bitburg for "Die Friedensliste" ("The Peace List"), a coalition of persons consisting of members of the DKP, SPD, FPD and the GREENS and advocated the destruction of nuclear weapons weapons. The author made a peace political cabaret and called in a satirical circular those members of the German Bundestag, who had voted for the NATO Double-Track Decision, to take over personal sponsorships for each of the stationed in Hasselbach and Heilbronn cruise missiles and Pershing II missiles. On January 23, 1986, as the authors refused, he publicly executed the "forced baptism" outside the gates of the rocket base in Hasselbach, lending the names of their political mothers and fathers to the cruise missiles stationed there. In autumn 1986, Weissenborn's correspondence with the Bonn delegates appeared as a facsimile edition under the title "Die Paten der Raketen" ("The Godfathers of Rockets") in the publishing house édition trèves.

In 2002, Guenter Helmes took over the publication of a six-volume edition of Theodor Weissenborn's works. Volume 1 (short stories), Volume 2 (radio plays) and Volume 5 (novels) of this issue appeared in the same year. From 2003 to 2009, Volume 3 (poems), Volume 4 (letter satires) and Volume 6 (Diversa) of the works edition were published. "Sprechend in der Dunkelheit zeigt sich das Unsichtbare dem Lauschenden" ("Speaking in the dark, the invisible shows itself to the listener") was produced with Gert Westphal in the lead role of the narrator of the ORF, Studio Vienna, and first aired on October 15 in the program Oe1.

In March 2009, the Weissenborns moved to Pulheim, a year later in the near Cologne. In April 2015 the move took place from Cologne to Gerolstein. Weissenborn subsequently wrote numerous philosophical and psychological essays and published in literary and cultural magazines ("Sprache im technischen Zeitalter", "Ostragehege", "Die Drei" and others). In addition, numerous sociocritical (mainly church and religious criticism) short texts are printed by, among others, the daily "Neues Deutschland" and the magazines "konkret", "Christ und Sozialist", "Kunst und Kultur", the "Ketzer-Briefe" ("heretic letters") and the "Rotfuchs".