On May 13, 2020, author and dramatist Rolf Hochhuth passed away in Berlin, Germany at the age of 89. He was the first recipient of our Jacob Grimm Award in 2001.
Rolf Hochhuth was one of the most influential German playwrights of the post-war period. His plays generally revolved around historical events, frequently ones linked to Nazi rule. His works “The Deputy” (1963) and “Lawyers” (1979) triggered political controversy. In the former, he questioned the role of Pope Pius XII. during the Nazi era in view of the Holocaust. In “Lawyers”, he addresses Hans Filbinger’s conduct as a naval judge in 1945 – Hans Filbinger, who later became Prime Minster of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, resigned from his post in 1978 after Hochhuth had made his conduct public. Like few others, Rolf Hochhuth made the art of drama a public affair. In addition to plays, he also authored poems, short stories, novellas, essays and polemic writings.
He was a pugnacious democrat who did not hesitate to speak out – not only on matters of culture. He was a moralist with high, immutable standards. The German language was more than a tool to him, it was a cultural asset that needed to be cultivated, protected and developed.
The Eberhard Schöck Foundation mourns the death of the first recipient of its Jacob Grimm Award. We will cultivate and cherish his memory.