Literaturarchiv Niederösterreich

(Pre-mortem) Bequests and (Post-mortem) Estates

W. H. Auden

* 1907 York/GB + 1973 Vienna

W. H. Auden was one of the most important poets in the English language of the 20th century. Already in the 1930s he was one of the formative literary voices of a new generation. After working as a teacher in Scotland and Wales and traveling through Iceland and China, Auden moved to America before the outbreak of World War II and taught at various universities there. From 1948 he commuted semi-annually between the USA and Europe, initially between New York and Ischia/Italy. From 1958 on, he spent his summer months in Kirchstetten in Lower Austria. Auden received numerous prizes for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize (1948), the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize (1957) and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature (1966). Auden died on 29.9.1973 after a reading in Vienna. In 1995, a museum was established in the premises of his house in Kirchstetten, which underwent a fundamental redesign in 2015.
In 1988, the province of Lower Austria acquired the partial estate remaining at his residence.


Zdenka Becker

* 1951 Cheb/CSSR

Zdenka Becker grew up in Bratislava and studied economics at the University of Economics there. In 1974 she moved to Austria after marrying the Austrian Leo Becker. Since 1983 she has lived with her family in St. Pölten-Radlberg. In 1986 she wrote and published in German, first journalistic texts, soon literary works. Becker began as a writer for the theater; her dramatic oeuvre includes more than a dozen plays. In addition to poetry, Becker also published novels and short stories. Her works have been translated into numerous languages, and she also translates herself from Slovak, Czech and Russian into German and from German into Slovak. In 2014, she received the Honorary Prize for Literature of the province of Lower Austria.
The estate was acquired in 2020.


Georg Bydlinski

* 1956 Graz

The poet and children's and youth book author Georg Bydlinski grew up in the Rhineland as well as in the Vienna area, studied English and religious education in Vienna and lives with his family in Mödling. There he founded the small publishing house edition umbruch in 1985, which he ran together with Franz Rinner for over ten years. Bydlinski has published around 80 books to date and received numerous awards, including the Austrian State Prize for Children's Poetry and the Austrian Children's and Youth Book Prize. Bydlinski lives in Mödling.


Karl Farkas

* 1893 Vienna + 1971 Vienna

Karl Farkas grew up as the son of Hungarian-born parents in Vienna-Alsergrund and discovered his passion for theater at an early age. He studied at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts and worked as an actor and director from 1921. Due to his performances at the Kabarett Simpl, he first gained fame through the double conférences with his partner Fritz Grünbaum. In the interwar period he advanced to become a star of the Viennese cabaret scene. In 1938 he had to flee Vienna because of his Jewish ancestry and reached the USA via France and Portugal, where he survived until 1946 through engagements in the exile community. After his return to Vienna, he performed again at the Simpl from 1950 and eventually became one of the first post-war television stars through the TV recordings of the Simpl shows alongside his partner Ernst Waldbrunn. In his private life, he stayed in his house in Dörfl near Reichenau an der Rax, which he had already purchased in 1928 and which he was awarded again after a lengthy restitution process after the war.
The estate of Karl Farkas was acquired by the province of Lower Austria in three tranches between 2008 and 2021.


Emma Feiks (Ps. Emmy Feiks-Waldhäusl)

* 1899 Pottenbrunn + 1975 Wilhelmsburg

Emmy Feiks-Waldhäusl was born in Pottenbrunn and spent her childhood there. In 1926 the family moved to Kreisbach near Wilhelmsburg. After studying German and history, she taught as a teacher at Viennese girls' schools. Since her retirement, she again lived in Wilhelmsburg from time to time. In her literary works she focused on the history of her immediate surroundings: in the novel Spielmann von Pottenbrunn (1946) she drew a picture of her birthplace from the Waldensian period in the 14th century, and in Das Leben am Strom (1949) she described the Danube countryside during the Migration Period. In 1964 she was awarded the Culture Award of the province of Lower Austria.


Alfred Gesswein

* 1911 Ungarisch-Altenburg + 1983 Vienna

Alfred Gesswein's family moved to Vienna in 1914, where he grew up and attended the graphic arts course. He worked as a commercial artist and also wrote poetry from the age of 16. With the beginning of the war, he was drafted into the Wehrmacht as a soldier and was deployed in Poland, Russia and the Balkans. After his return, he lived with his family first in Langenzersdorf and eventually moved to Wien-Landstraße, where he lived until his death in 1983. Together with Alois Vogel, Wilhelm Szabo, Ilse Tielsch and others, he founded the literary circle PODIUM in Neulengbach Castle in 1970 and designed the logo for the literary magazine of the same name, which has been published since 1971. In the literary world, he was recognized above all for his extensive lyrical work; he also wrote radio plays and short prose. From 1993 to 2009, the literary circle PODIUM awarded a biennial literature prize named after Gesswein, which has been continued as the "Alois Vogel Literature Prize" since 2012.


Friedrich Hahn

* 1952 Merkengersch/Lower Austria

Friedrich Hahn grew up in the Waldviertel in Lower Austria and after graduating from high school worked as a bank clerk, later as a communication designer. Since 1968 he has been active in literature and art. Hahn has published about 30 books (poems, short prose, novels), written numerous radio plays and has worked for various literary associations and magazines (including PODIUM, pult, Limes) since the 1970s. He is also active as a visual artist and participated in the Ingeborg Bachmann Competition in 1987.
His estate was acquired by the province of Lower Austria in 2019.


Ilse Helbich

*1923 Vienna

Ilse Helbich grew up in Vienna as the daughter of a building contractor and was influenced in her youth by the Catholic reform movement of the Neuland-Bund. She completed her studies in German in 1947 with a thesis on the baroque poet Johannes Beer. She then completed an apprenticeship as a bookseller and publisher and worked in this field. After her marriage to Franz Helbich, a business lawyer, she raised five children. In the 1960s, she wrote scripts for television (Fenstergucker) and, from the early 1970s, regularly contributed to the feuilleton of the daily newspaper Die Presse. In the late 1980s she moved into an old house in Schönberg am Kamp, which she had renovated, and devoted herself to her literary work. In 2003, her autobiographical debut novel Schwalbenschrift was published, followed by a story about her house in Schönberg (Das Haus, 2009). Her published work now includes more than 10 volumes of prose, essay, and poetry. Ilse Helbich was awarded the Lower Austrian Culture Award in the literature category in 2018.
The author's estate was acquired by the province of Lower Austria in 2017.


Helga Köcher

* 1941 Waidhofen/Ybbs

Helga Köcher grew up in Waidhofen an der Ybbs and developed an early artistic talent in drawing and painting. Between 1955 and 1957, at the invitation of her great-uncle Oskar Kokoschka, she visited his "Schule des Sehens" in Salzburg. An early marriage (1960) and the birth of four children initially confined Köcher to existence as a mother and housewife. In 1973, she initiated the civil society campaign "Mut zur Demokratie". 1976-1978 she worked as a local editor for the newspaper Niederösterreichische Nachrichten, in 1978 she separated from her husband, moved to Vienna with the children and began working in galleries. From 1980 she worked as a correspondent and editor for various international art magazines (including du, Kunstforum International, Artefactum). Helga Köcher sees her journalistic and activist work as "social sculpture" in the wake of Joseph Beuys. Other important stations of her work are the initiative "Emergence of Projects" and the artistic-scientific network "ViennAvant", which is dedicated to the study of the Viennese avant-gardes.
Helga Kranner's archive was acquired as a donation in 2018.


Eduard Kranner

* 1893 Vienna + 1977 Eggenburg

Eduard Kranner grew up in Krems and graduated from the Piaristengymnasium there. He then enrolled at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna but was drafted for military service in 1914. After his return from World War I, he studied law at the University of Vienna and, between 1931 and 1935, German studies and philosophy. Through his membership in the fraternity Gothia and his acquaintance with the literary scholar Josef Nadler, Kranner experienced his literary-political socialization in a folkish environment. As mayor of the town of Eggenburg during World War II, he was also involved in the Nazi bureaucracy. His novel Storchenburg und sein Knecht was published in 1939 by the Aryanized Saturn-Verlag (formerly Phaidon-Verlag). Even after World War II, Kranner remained connected to the nationalist-folk milieu, as documented, for example, by his membership in the right-wing extremist association "Dichterstein Offenhausen".


Emmerich Lang

* 1941 Kemeten/Burgenland + 2006 Maria Roggendorf

Emmerich Lang grew up in Burgenland and, after graduating from high school, first worked as a postal worker in Vienna, later as a vocational counselor in Hollabrunn and as an educator and director of education at the Caritas Home in Retz, after graduating from the Academy for Social Work in Vienna. Since 1966 he lived in Maria Roggendorf in the Weinviertel. After his first literary attempts as a high school student, Lang began publishing poetry, but also fables, fairy tales, short stories and aphorisms in magazines, anthologies and on the radio in 1965. For the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) he wrote two radio plays for adults and 32 radio plays for children. In 1977 he was awarded the Prize Promoting Literature of the Province of Burgenland, and in 1992 the Recognition Prize of the Province of Lower Austria.


Matthias Mander

*1933 in Graz

Matthias Mander (real name: Harald Mandl) grew up in Styria and graduated from the commercial academy in Graz. From 1952 he worked as an assistant accountant in a steel factory and at this time also began to publish short prose in magazines. In 1978 Mander received a teaching position at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, which he held until 1997. From 1979, several novels and story collections were published by Styria, and from 2001 the great Garanas trilogy of novels was published by Czernin-Verlag. In 1963 Mander received the Peter Rosegger Promotion Prize, in 1980 the Anton Wildgans Literature Prize and in 1991 the Literature Prize of the Province of Lower Austria. Mander lives in Seyring.
Mander's estate was acquired in 2015.


Carl Merz

* 1906 Kronstadt/Transylvania + 1979 Vienna

Carl Merz (real name: Carl Czell) grew up in Bucharest and Vienna and studied at the University of World Trade in Vienna from 1924. In addition to his studies, he wrote dramatic scenes and performed as an interpreter of Wedekind-Chansons. After brief engagements in Germany, he performed regularly at the "Literatur am Naschmarkt" from 1933. Even after the so-called Anschluss, he performed on Austrian and German stages. After the end of the war, he played in the "Lieben Augustin", whose management he held in 1946/47. There he met Helmut Qualtinger and through him Gerhard Bronner and Michael Kehlmann, with whom he jointly founded the "namenlose Ensemble". His best-known work to this day is the television play Der Herr Karl (1961), which he wrote together with Qualtinger. Terminally ill after two strokes, Merz took his own life in 1979.
The estate of Carl Merz was acquired in 2008.


Annemarie E. Moser

* 1941 Wr. Neustadt

Annemarie Moser completed an office apprenticeship after elementary school and worked as an accountant until 1979. After her first publications in the late 1970s and her first awards and honors, Moser gave up her day job and worked as a freelance writer. Her work includes prose and poetry. In 1987 Moser received the Culture Prize for Literature from the city of Wiener Neustadt, and in 1996 the Appreciation Prize for Literature from the Province of Lower Austria. Moser lives in Wiener Neustadt.
Annemarie Moser's estate was acquired in two tranches in 2006 and 2013.


Janko Musulin

* 1916 Vienna + 1978 Ober-Grafendorf

Janko Musulin was the son of Alexander v. Musulin-Gomirje, that diplomatic scribe of the Emperor Franz Joseph II, who formulated the ultimatum to Serbia in 1914. Janko Musulin was active in the resistance during World War II. The non-fiction writer, essayist and publicist worked as a newspaper commentator and correspondent after 1945, in 1958-64 in the management of the S.-Fischer publishing house, 1965-69 in the publishing house F. Molden, then at Die Presse and ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation).
His estate was taken over as a donation in 2021/22.


Stella Musulin

* 1915 Dale/Wales + 1996 Ober-Grafendorf

Stella Musulin came from a Welsh aristocratic family and first arrived in Vienna in the 1930s as an employee of the British Embassy. After the Nazi invasion in March 1938, she was evacuated and spent the war period in London. After the war ended, she returned to Austria and married her fiancé, Janko Musulin. From the late 1940s, she worked as a publicist for various media (Presse, Furche, Salzburger Nachrichten, as well as English-language media), focusing on historical-political and religious-historical topics. Through her friend Christiane Zimmer-Hofmannsthal she came into contact with W. H. Auden in 1959 and became his closest confidant in Austria.
Her estate was taken over as a donation in 2021/22 and contains, among other things, a collection of letters by Auden.


Erwin Riess

* 1957 Krems

Erwin Riess grew up in Krems and later studied journalism and political science in Vienna. After several operations due to a tumor on his spine, Riess became a paraplegic and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. After graduating, he worked for the Ministry of Economics as a scientific advisor for handicapped-accessible construction. Riess is an activist for the equality of disabled people in Austria. After essayistic publications in the 1990s, the first of seven novels to date was published in 2000 around the protagonist Groll, a wheelchair user who solves criminal cases against the background of complex constellations of contemporary history. Riess received the Hans Weigel Literary Fellowship in 1992, the Vienna Authors' Fellowship in 1997, and the Prize for Literature of the Province of Lower Austria in 2002. Erwin Riess lives in Vienna.
The estate of Erwin Riess was acquired in 2018.


Walter Sachs

* 1901 Traisen + 1985 Lilienfeld

Walter Sachs grew up as the son of a laborer in the poorest of circumstances. He worked as a secondary school teacher and later as a school director in his home community. At the beginning of the 1930s he was a member of the "Red Players of Traisen", a social-democratic oriented cabaret. In 1933 he published his first volume of poetry, Von Wäldern und Schloten, which focused on the social reality of the working class and the effects of industrialization in rural areas. Sachs's role in the Nazi era was ambivalent: despite his different political background, he joined the party and also held official positions in his hometown. After the end of the war, he was subjected to denazification proceedings because of this, but they were inconclusive. In 1963 he was awarded the Appreciation Prize for Literature of the Province of Lower Austria.


Ilse Tielsch

* 1929 Auspitz

Born in southern Moravia, Ilse Tielsch fled to Austria in 1945 and lived in Linz and Vienna. With a doctorate in German studies, she was active as a journalist from the 1950s, initially under the double name Tielsch-Felzmann. Central to her work from the 1970s onward, which includes prose, poetry, essays, travelogues, and radio contributions, is the theme of Heimatverlust (loss of homeland), especially the history of the expulsion of Sudeten Germans. She was a co-founder of the literary circle PODIUM and has received numerous awards, such as the Promotion Prize of the Province of Lower Austria for Literature in 1971 and the Franz-Theodor-Csokor-Prize for her lifetime achievement in 2017. Ilse Tielsch lives in Vienna.


Andreas Weber

* 1961 Horn

Andreas Weber studied German language and literature and history at the University of Vienna. He works as a teacher and journalist as well as an editor and filmmaker. Weber edited important publications on the Lower Austrian authors Fritz Habeck and Hermann Gail and had success with a documentary film about the former Argentine world-class soccer player Mario Kempes. His literary work includes short prose, novels and screenplays. Andreas Weber lives in Linz.


Josef Weber

* 1892 Gmünd + 1969 St. Gilgen am Wolfgangsee

Josef Weber (real name: Wenzlitzke) grew up in Gmünd as the son of the director of a sugar factory and later studied medicine in Vienna. During World War I he was taken prisoner of war as a soldier in Russia. After his return, he finished his medical studies and worked as a general practitioner in Wilhelmsburg. Even before the Nazi invasion of Austria, he joined the NSDAP. During World War II, Wenzlitzke served as a doctor with the rank of captain in the German Wehrmacht in Sankt Pölten and Neulengbach. In 1945 he became a prisoner of war in the USA. From 1950 he worked as a doctor in Mautern, then in Stein in Krems on the Danube. In 1962 Josef Wenzlitzke was awarded the Culture Prize for Poetry of the Province of Lower Austria, and in 1963 the Golden Badge of Honor of the City of Krems.


Bruno Weinhals

* 1954 Horn + 2006 Vienna

Bruno Weinhals spent his childhood in Stockerau. After graduating from high school, he moved to Vienna to begin his studies at the Interpreting Institute. Already in the late 1970s he began to publish his texts as a freelance author, among others in the Viennese city newspaper Falter, in the literary magazine pult and other publications. His work includes poetry, prose texts, radio plays, essays on poetics, and several plays. Book publications (among others): Fabulierbuch (2000), Alle Namen der Welt (1984), Die Entdecker (1983). Weinhals died in Vienna in 2006.
The estate of Bruno Weinhals was acquired in 2011.