Single parent and suddenly without a job – what a catastrophe! When mirjam pressler lost her jeans store in munich almost 40 years ago, she was scared out of her wits.
Wrongly, as it soon became clear. Instead of advising customers on choosing the right pants, she started writing books – and promptly became one of the most successful and important authors and translators in germany. "That was a very rough gluck – jerking," pressler once described it himself. Now the award-winning author is dead. After a long and serious illness, mirjam pressler died on wednesday in landshut at the age of 78.
Her first book, "bitterschokolade" (bitter chocolate), published in 1980, was already a success. The story of a girl with bulimia won a prize and sold 400,000 copies. More than 30 books for children and young adults followed, such as "novemberkatzen" and "nathan und seine kinder". She was awarded the german youth literature prize and many other honors.
Their languages were hebrew, english, dutch, yiddish, "a little" spanish and french. Pressler has translated more than 300 titles, including novels by zeruya shalev and amos oz. She was particularly fond of the diaries of anne frank. She translated it into german and dealt intensively with the story of the jewish girl who had hidden from the nazis. Pressler’s own books have been translated into 30 languages.
Shortly before christmas, the author received the federal cross of merit for her outstanding commitment to popular understanding, especially between germany and israel, and to the remembrance of national socialist injustice. Her latest novel, "dunkles gold," will be published on the 13th. Marz and revolves around a mysterious jewish treasure from erfurt. The book spans an arc from the medieval plague pogroms to current anti-semitic developments in germany, according to the publisher.
Pressler builds bridges between generations and cultures, between us and our history, said the jury of the munich literature prize in june 2017. In the laudatory speech, it was said: "your stories are an inventory of what no one wants to know at first."They were about violence, fear, loneliness, disability, eating disorder, destruction. "Not an ideal world, not a fantasy world that is so often used as a setting for children’s and young people’s books, but a world of life. Much life."
Pressler wrote about the suffering that national socialism brought upon people, as well as about her personal connection with israel and about the problems of children and young people. Her heroes are not radiant and without blemish – they are aubenseiter, often lonely and alone and they have it not easy.
"There is no such thing as this ideal children’s world," pressler stated nuchternally. That’s why her books are not about dream worlds, but about reality. "This also results from my biography."She was born in 1940 during the second world war as the illegitimate child of a jew in darmstadt, grew up in a foster family and a children’s home, and was sent to boarding school at the age of eleven. Writing was a kind of therapy. In the daily newspaper "welt" she once called it "the extinction of the speechless child i used to be.
A childhood without books – unimaginable for pressler. "I really feel sorry for any child who does not read. How can you get a picture of the world if you don’t read??" She asked. "I have always been a passionate reader and i love books." She devoured between 100 and 200 copies per year. Always a book in front of her nose – that’s how she kept it, even when she was chopping wood, as she once told the "welt am sonntag" magazine. "There was a wooden trestle and a block on which i chopped the wood with a hatchet. I had put my books on the trestle – so I could read while I was chopping."