ERICH MARIA REMARQUE Biography - Writers


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Erich Maria Remarque                                                                       
Born June 22, 1898                                                                         
Osnabrack, Germany                                                                         
Died September 25, 1970 (aged 72)                                                         
Locarno, Switzerland                                                                       
Occupation Novelist                                                                       
Nationality German                                                                         
Erich Maria Remarque (June 22, 1898 – September 25, 1970) was the pseudonym of           
Erich Paul Remark, a German author.                                                       
Erich Paul Remark was born in Osnabrück into a working-class Roman Catholic               
family. He was conscripted into the army at the age of 18.                                 
On 12 June, 1917 he was transferred to the Western Front, 2nd Company, Reserves,           
Field Depot of the 2nd Reserves Guards Division at Hem-Lenglet. On 26 June, he             
was stationed between Thorhut and Houthulst, Trench Battalion Bethe (Name of               
commander), 2nd Company of the 15th Reserve Infantry Regiment. On 31 July he was           
wounded by shrapnel in the left leg, right arm and neck, and repatriated to an             
army hospital in Germany, where he spent the rest of the war.                             
After the war he changed his last name to Remarque, which had been the family-name         
until his grandfather changed it due to 19th Century German xenophobia. He                 
worked at a number of different jobs, including librarian, businessman, teacher,           
journalist and editor.                                                                     
In 1929, Remarque published his most famous work, All Quiet on the Western Front           
(Im Westen nichts Neues) under the name Erich Maria Remarque (changing his                 
middle name in honor of his mother). The novel described the utter cruelty of             
the war from the perspective of a twenty year-old soldier. A number of similar             
works followed; in simple, emotive language they described wartime and the                 
postwar years.                                                                             
In 1933, the Nazis banned and burned Remarque's works, and issued propaganda               
stating that he was a descendant of French Jews and that his real last name was           
Kramer, a Jewish-sounding name, and his original name spelled backwards. This is           
still listed in some biographies despite the complete lack of proof. Also                 
despite clear evidence to the contrary, their assertion that he had never seen             
active service remains in some references.                                                 
Remarque had been living in Switzerland since 1931, and in 1939 he emigrated to           
the United States of America with his first wife, Ilsa Jeanne Zamboui, whom he             
married and divorced twice, and they became naturalized citizens of the United             
States in 1947. In 1948 he went to Switzerland, where he spent the rest of his             
life. He married the Hollywood actress Paulette Goddard in 1958 and they                   
remained married until his death in 1970 at age 72. He is interred in the Ronco           
cemetery in Ronco, Ticino, Switzerland, where Goddard is also interred. Goddard           
left a bequest of $20 million to New York University to fund an institute for             
European study which is named after Remarque. The first Director of The Remarque           
Institute was Professor Tony Judt.