Gustav Regler

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Emblem of the International Brigades

Gustav Regler (25 May 1898 – 14 January 1963) was a German Socialist novelist.

Regler was born in Merzig. He served in the Germany Infantry during the First World War, and was seriously injured; he joined the Communist Party, and spent time in the USSR. He later served as political commissar[1] of the XII International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. Whilst in Spain he befriended Ernest Hemingway, and was wounded at the Battle of Guadalajara.[2]

As a Communist, he was long-time friend of Arthur Koestler, first in Berlin, then Paris and during the Spanish Civil War. Regler's books were banned in the Third Reich. While in Spain, he wrote articles as a special correspondent for the Deutsche Zentral Zeitung.[3] He accompanied Lillian Hellman on a visit to a Benicàssim hospital in October 1937.[4]

He wrote about his Spanish experiences in his novel Das große Beispiel [The great example], translated as The Great Crusade (New York, 1940), introduced by Ernest Hemingway, translated by Whittaker Chambers.[5]

His memoirs were published as The Owl of Minerva in London in 1959. Time magazine called him the German "Malraux."

He eventually broke with the Soviet Communist Party and took refuge in Mexico where he lived the last years of his life in Tepoztlán with his second wife Margaret (Peggy). He died while traveling in India to receive a prize at age 69 and his body was burned on the ghats of the Benares river.

References

  1. Thomas (2003), p 468
  2. Gustav Regler (Spanish)
  3. Dieter Schiller, Der Traum von Hitlers Sturz: Studien zur deutschen Exilliteratur 1933-1945 Peter Lang GmbH (2010), p. 592. ISBN 978-3-631-58755-3. Retrieved December 7, 2011 (German)
  4. Hellman reported on their visit in the New Republic in April 1938. Thomas Carl Austenfeld, American Women Writers and the Nazis (University Press of Virginia, 2001), 90
  5. Chambers, Whittaker (1952). Witness. Random House. pp. 25–90 (Chapter 1, "Flight": Chambers does not name book or author). ISBN 0-89526-571-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Sources

  • Hugh Thomas The Spanish Civil War 2003. 4th Rev ed.
  • Gustav Regler, The Owl of Minerva, Hart-Davis, London, 1959.
  • "A Ghost Walks," TIME, March 7, 1960 (review of The Owl of Minerva)