Heinrich Böll

Heinrich Böll (1917-1985)

Heinrich BöllPhoto: Toni Richter.

Heinrich Böll (1917-1985) is one of the most important and best-known writers of the Federal Republic of Germany. "Bound by the times and my contemporaries, to what my generation has lived through, experienced, seen, and heard," as he himself wrote, he was the critical chronicler of Germany’s history at mid-century.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his novels and short stories in 1972.

His courageous and unerring intervention significantly enriched and influenced political culture in Germany. Throughout his life, Heinrich Böll transcended all ideological boundaries in his committed support of persecuted colleagues, civil rights activists, and political prisoners; this once earned him the mocking title of "Warden of the Dissident Wayfarers" in an East German magazine.

His global commitment to human rights greatly enhanced the image of the Federal Republic of Germany and fostered international understanding. His books and essays vividly portray the first 40 years of German democracy following the Nazi dictatorship. Committed to speaking out against the global threat of nuclear destruction, he was actively involved in the peace movement in the early 1980s.

Heinrich Böll was president of PEN International for several years.

His most important works include "The Bread of Our Early Years," "Billiards at Half-past Nine," "The Clown," "Group Portrait with Lady," "The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum," "Women in a River Landscape," and "Irish Journal." Many of his books have been made into films.

With the approval of the Böll family and the National Convention of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Green Party), the Foundation carries the name of Heinrich Böll because he embodied that rare combination of political awareness, artistic creativity, and moral integrity which remains a model for future generations. The courage to stand up for one's beliefs; encouragement to meddle in public affairs; and unconditional activism in support of dignity and human rights were characteristics of the writer Heinrich Böll. The Foundation is committed to that tradition.

Welcome!

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung/Heinrich Böll Foundation (hbs) is one of six political foundations in Germany. It is associated with the German Green Party (Alliance 90/The Greens), but works independently and nurtures a spirit of intellectual openness. We are a think tank for green visions and projects that provides a platform for international dialogue.

In China, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung works in cooperation with the China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO). We also work with governmental departments and think tanks, academic institutions and civil society organizations. Our activities in China are focused on three main areas: Ecology and Sustainable Development, Social Developments and Gender Equality, Globalization and China’s Role in Global Governance. Our aim is to promote mutual understanding between China and Germany as well as Europe.