Who was Walter Flex

Walter Flex

Walter Flex (* July 6, 1887 in Eisenach; † October 16, 1917 at Pöide (Peude) on the Estonian island of Saaremaa (Ösel)) was a German writer and poet.



Symbolic tomb for Walter Flex in the main cemetery in Eisenach (2015)

Flex was buried in 1917 in the village cemetery of Pöide, where the wooden cross soon fell into disrepair. In its place was a memorial plaque, which was removed after the end of the war; However, the site was preserved as a nameless grave. The Nazis left the remains of Flex in 1940 in the cemetery of the Königsberg i garrison. Embed pr.[4][5]East Prussia's capital was easier to reach and was therefore better suited for propagandistic flex worship. The tombstone there was destroyed in World War II.

At the original burial site in Pöide, unknown visitors piled up two small stone mounds during the perestroika period. In 1995 a German youth group put up a simple birch cross.[4]

Founded in 1987 Öselsche Society for the Preservation of Monuments initiated a memorial stone. The historian Raul Salumäe (today director of the museum in Kuressaare), a student country team and a subdivision of the Sudeten German country team made the idea possible. Salumäe researched in the German Literature Archive Marbach (DLA) through the mediation of a Stuttgart pastor couple. The result appeared in the DLA yearbook. Designed by Salumäe and executed by local stonemason Markus Vaher, the memorial stone was inaugurated on July 6, 1997, Flex's 110th birthday, with a small ceremony in front of 60 mostly Estonian guests. It is in the same place as the first tombstone.[4]

There is also a symbolic grave at the main cemetery in Flex's hometown of Eisenach (immediately southeast of the administration building). The former made of the establishment of this memorial Friends of Walter Flex dependent on the donation of the poet's estate to the city of Eisenach. The holdings are kept in the Eisenach city archive.


  • In Landsberg an der Warthe the "Walter-Flex-Kaserne" of the Wehrmacht was named after Walter Flex.[6]
  • In numerous German cities streets, squares, buildings and schools were named after him, but some of them were renamed after the end of the Nazi dictatorship. B. the Edingerweg in Frankfurt am Main[7] or the Ernst-Henning-Strasse in Hamburg[8]. Walter-Flex-Straße in Bonn was opened in 2017 in honor of the longstanding Federal Foreign Minister in Genscherallee renamed.[9][10] The Walter-Flex-Weg in Graz was judged critically by a historians' commission in 2017 because Flex was a war poet in World War I and he was referred to in research as a “chauvinistic war poet”.[11]
  • In the Soviet occupation zone, all names after Walter Flex disappeared as early as 1945, such as those of a large school in Naumburg (Saale).


  • Demetrius (Drama), 1909
  • The crush (Novella), 1910
  • Alternately (Poems), 1910
  • Lothar (Drama), 1912
  • Twelve Bismarcks (Novellas), 1913
  • Klaus von Bismarck (Drama), 1913
  • The people in iron (Poems), 1914
  • Christmas fairy tale of the 50th regiment (Fairy tale), (presumably 1914)
  • Sun and shield (Poems), 1915
  • From the great supper (Verses and Thoughts), 1915
  • In the field between night and day (Poems), 1917
  • The wanderer between the two worlds (Novelle), 1916, reissued with annotations, maps, photos in bge-verlag, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-945432-00-6
  • Wallenstein's face (Novella), 1918
  • The Russian Spring Offensive 1916 (= The great war in individual representations, Volume 33). Published by the War Press Office at the General Staff of the Field Army, 1919
  • Wolf Eschenlohr (Novella), 1919
  • Lothar, 1920
  • The Protestant women's revolt in Löwenberg without year.
  • Novellas (6 pieces), written 1907–1914, Beck, Munich 1926

Comparable authors

From a literary sociological point of view, Walter Flex assumed the social position of the “post-war poet” after 1918, which Theodor Körner held after the wars of freedom against Napoleon and Wolfgang Borchert after the Second World War: fallen young or died, young readers recognizable emotionality and defiance, grief not immune to sentimentality , more lyrical than prosaic style.


  • Rudolf Beinert: Walter Flex memorial service in Arensburg on Oesel on October 16, 1918. Berlin 1920.
  • Rosa Kaulitz-Niedeck: The poet's grave on Ösel: A book for friends and admirers of Walter Flex. Hapsal / Estonia 1925.
  • Bernita-Maria Moebis: Who dares God's journey: pictures and fates from the house of Flex. Harvest Publishing House, Hamburg, 1926.
  • Johannes Klein: Walter Flex, an interpreter of the world war. A contribution to the literary historical evaluation of German war poetry. Marburg a. L. 1929.
  • Erich von Tschischwitz: Blue jackets and field gray towards Oesel: Walter Flex ’heroic death. Berlin 1934 (example of flex cult under National Socialism).
  • Konrad Flex: Walter Flex: A picture of life. Stuttgart 1937.
  • Christoph Petzsch: Flex, Walter. In: New German biography (NDB). Volume 5, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1961, ISBN 3-428-00186-9, p. 243 f. (Digitized version).
  • Justus H. Ulbricht: The myth of hero's death: the origin and effect of Walter Flex ’" The Wanderer Between Both Worlds ". In: Yearbook of the Archives of the German Youth Movement. 16 (1986/87), pp. 111-156.
  • Raimund Neuss: Notes on Walter Flex. The "Ideas of 1914" in German Literature: A Case Study. SH-Verlag, Schernfeld 1992.
  • The bequests and collections on the poet Walter Flex and his family. Edited by Bernd Jeschonnek. City of Eisenach, Eisenach 1999.
  • Bernd Spiekermann: "Obedience to the divine and defenseless against the human". Religion and Nation in the Work of Walter Flex. Schüling, Münster 2000.
  • Markus Henkel: Walter Flex and Erich Maria Remarque - a comparison. War image and war processing in Walter Flex ’" The Wanderer Between Two Worlds "(1916) and Erich Maria Remarque" Nothing New in the West "(1929). In: Heinrich Mann yearbook 19 (2001), pp. 177-213.
  • Hans-Rudolf Wahl: The religion of German nationalism. A study of the history of mentality on the literature of the Empire: Felix Dahn, Ernst von Wildenbruch, Walter Flex. Winter, Heidelberg 2002.
  • Hans Wagener: Wandering bird and flame angel. Walter Flex: The wanderer between the two worlds. A War Experience (1916). In: Thomas F. Schneider (Ed.): From Richthofen to Remarque. Amsterdam et al. 2003, pp. 17-30. (= Amsterdam contributions to recent German studies; 5).
  • Lars Koch: The First World War as a medium of counter-modernism: On the works of Walter Flex and Ernst Jünger. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2006, ISBN 3-8260-3168-7.
  • Jürgen Reulecke: A young generation in the trenches, "The Wanderer Between Two Worlds" by Walter Flex. In: Dirk van Laak (Ed.): Literature that made history. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-525-30015-2, pp. 151-164.
  • Jürgen Nelles: Telling between the fronts - on the aesthetics of unwilling resistance in Walter Flex ’" Wanderer Between Two Worlds ". In: Maria Gierlak, Małgorzata Klentak-Zabłoka, Thorsten Unger (eds.): Literary memory of the First World War in regions of Central Europe (= Warsaw studies on cultural and literary studies, B. 9). Peter Lang, Frankfurt a. M. 2017, ISBN 978-3-631-66581-7, pp. 197-220.

Web links

  • A digital memory for the First World War - German subtitles. The film tells the story of Walter Flex, a war volunteer from the very beginning and at the same time one of the most famous writers from the time of the First World War. Important documents from his estate, which is kept in the Berlin State Library, have now been digitized and freely accessible on the Europeana cultural portal. The film takes a look behind the scenes of the digitization workshop of the State Library and tells how his letters, manuscripts, photos and personal documents, among others. a card perforated by a bullet, brought into the network by the State Library. These online sources by and about Walter Flex are part of the world's largest collection of digital sources on World War I that has just been activated. The “Europeana 1914–1918” themed portal brings together several hundred thousand objects from the important collections of numerous European libraries with digital copies of 90,000 private memorabilia and 660 hours of film material. In the “Europeana Collections 1914–1918” project, ten national libraries from eight European countries and other partners have digitized over 400,000 objects from the years 1914–1918 since 2011 with the support of the European Commission and coordinated by the Berlin State Library. Topic portal: www.europeana1914-1918.eu
  • Literature by and about Walter Flex in the catalog of the German National Library
  • Works by and about Walter Flex in the German Digital Library
  • Newspaper article about Walter Flex in the press kit of the 20th century of the ZBW - Leibniz Information Center for Economics.
  • Works by Walter Flex at Zeno.org.
  • Works by Walter Flex in the Gutenberg-DE project
  • Susanne Eckelmann: Walter Flex. Tabular curriculum vitae in the LeMO (DHM and HdG)
  • Walter Flex: biography, publications, estate
  • Film about the digitization of parts of Walter Flex's estate by the Berlin State Library for the cultural portal on the First World War Europeana 1914–1918

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Helge Dvorak: Biographical lexicon of the German fraternity. Volume II: Artist. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5, pp. 200–205.
  2. ↑ Ernst Höhne: The Bubenreuther. History of a German fraternity. II., Erlangen 1936, p. 310.
  3. ↑ German Literature Archive Marbach.
  4. abcR. L .: Walter-Flex-Stein in Estonia. In: Student courier, 4/2013, p. 18.
  5. ^ Fritz Gause: Königsberg in Prussia. Gräfe and Unzer, 1968, p. 226 (GoogleBooks).
  6. ↑ Holm Kirsten: The Soviet special camp No. 4 Landsberg / Warthe, P. 27.
  7. ↑ ffmhist.de: Renaming streets and squares (accessed on December 12, 2014)
  8. ↑ uni-hamburg.de: Uwe Schmidt: Hamburg schools in the Third Reich (P. 787) (accessed December 12, 2014)
  9. Official Journal of the City of Bonn. No 16/2017, April 5, 2017.
  10. Walter-Flex-Strasse in the Bonn street cadastre
  11. ↑ Final report of the Expert Commission on Street Names Graz, Graz 2017, p. 62.