1972
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Heinrich Böll receiving the Nobel  Prize for Literature in Stockholm, 18.12.1972

Heinrich Böll receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm, 18.12.1972
Source: dpa

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Culture

High honour for local bard

Cologne is where he's born, but it's not his favourite place. That's something for which the city elders never forgive him during his lifetime.

Internationally, however, Heinrich Böll enjoys wide admiration, receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature on 19 October 1972 for his "combination of a broad perspective on his time and a sensitive skill in characterisation".

Heinrich Böll (born 21 December 1917 in Cologne, died 16 July 1985 in Kreuzau-Wieden), author of "Billiards at Half-past Nine", "The Clown", "The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum".

Böll tells his stories with great sensitivity, revealing the human side of social and political processes in the behaviour of his characters.

He grows up in a Catholic home, son of a sculptor and carpenter. Here lie the roots of his bulletantimilitarism, his rejection of National Socialism, his questioning of Catholicism.

Böll starts writing after the war. He studies German literature and writes short stories and radio dramas. Böll becomes politically active, arguing in the 1970s against a knee-jerk response to the bulletRed Army Faction (RAF) terrorists in their "war of six against 60 million".

In the 1980s he is an early advocate of a "red-green" alliance in Bonn - a ruling coalition of the SPD and the burgeoning Green Party.

Dirk Bitzer

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