Gerhard Wolf_Zeitschleifen (c) DEFA-Stiftung
Gerhard Wolf was born in Bad Frankenhausen on October 16, 1928. In 1944, as a 16-year-old, he was drafted into the Wehrmacht and became an American POW. Before he studied German literature and history at the Friedrich Schiller Universität in Jena—where he would meet his wife, the famous author Christa Wolf—he was a teacher in Schlotheim in the Soviet occupation zone from 1947 to 1949. During the early 1950s, he worked as a radio editor in Leipzig and Berlin. Wolf continued his studies at East Berlin‘s Humboldt Universität and graduated in 1956. In the 1960s, he was an editor at the Mitteldeutscher Verlag supporting young East German poets and writers. Since 1957, he has worked as a writer, editor, curator and publisher.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Wolf was a freelance scriptwriter and dramaturg at the DEFA Studio for Feature Films. Together with his wife, Christa Wolf, he co-wrote the film adaptation of Der geteilte Himmel (dir. Konrad Wolf) and the experimental and fairytale-like film Fräulein Schmetterling, based on their own short story. However, the film was stopped during production and not widely released until its reconstruction in 2020. Gerhard and Christa Wolf also co-wrote the script for Till Eulenspiegel, originally planned as a two-part film. This was rejected by officials for financial and political reasons. Director Rainer Simon (Wolf’s son-in-law) adapted the script, but the production process that followed was nevertheless dogged by censorship. Wolf was also credited as a dramaturg in two awarded films by Konrad Wolf: Ich war neunzehn and Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz.
In the 1980s, Wolf and writer Günter de Bruyn published the book series Märkischer Dichtergarten with Der Morgen publishing house, highlighting writers and poets of the 18th and 19th century related to Berlin and Mark Brandenburg. This series was an important contribution to the new reception of the Romantic era in East Germany. From 1988 to 1991, Wolf developed and edited the exceptional Aufbau publishing house book series Außer der Reihe (Out of Line) with works by oppositional Prenzlauer Berg poets, including Peter Brasch, Gabriele Kachold, Rainer Schedlinksi, Jan Faktor and Bert Papenfuß. This series also became known for its striking cover design and for including art by young avantgarde painters like Angela Hampel and Gabriele Stötzer.
Wolf founded his own publishing house, Janus Press, in 1990. Among many other important works by young writers, this press published the groundbreaking book about the GDR Super 8 underground scene, Gegenbilder – Filmische Subversionen in der DDR [1996, Counter Images: Filmic Subversions in the GDR], by Karin Fritzsche and Claus Löser. Wolf’s press has published over 50 books and graphic art collections.
Since the 1950s, Gerhard Wolf had also written his own books, which often focused on famous writers or visual artists, including authors Louis Fürnberg, Brigitte Reimann and painter Albert Ebert. He recently published portraits on artist friends in Herzenssache: Memorial – unvergessliche Begegnungen [2020, A Matter of My Heart: Memorial - Unforgettable Encounters] and also contributed a text to Helga Paris: Künstlerportraits (2021).
Gerhard Wolf died in Berlin on February 7, 2023.
|1986||Polizeiruf 110: Bedenkzeit (Police Call 110: Time for Consideration, TV, scenario)|
|1974||Till Eulenspiegel (co-script)|
|1973||Der nackte Mann auf dem Sportplatz (The Naked Man on the Sports Field, dramaturg)|
|1967||Ich war neunzehn (I Was Nineteen, dramaturg)|
|1965-66/2020||Fräulein Schmetterling (Miss Butterfly, co-script)|
|1964||Der geteilte Himmel (Divided Heaven, co-script)|