Leonhard Frank

Leonhard Frank and The Book that Everyone is Reading

The answer to my post a few days ago has surfaced: The book that everyone was reading is Die Jünger Jesu by Leonhard Frank (1949).

We learned that Würzburg liest ein Buch (Würzburg reading a Book)  was a huge city-wide event with 100 supporting events  (public readings, lectures, creative interpretations by 9th/10th graders, music and theater). The reading of this book seems to coincide with Frühjahrsvolksfest, a three-week folk festival that takes place in Würzburg each year beginning the fourth Saturday before Easter. It is the first large festival in Bavaria and marks the beginning of the festival season.


About the book: The Disciples of Jesus
The book sounds really intriguing, it would be great to find an english translation.  Leonhard Frank wrote Die Jünger Jesu “The Disciples of Jesus” while living in exile in the United States. The second edition was just printed in 2013. Though we haven’t read it, I can share an overview from the website:

via Google Translate

“In the immediate postwar period, the disciples of Jesus, “a gang of robber youths”, who in destroyed Würzburg have their secret meeting place in the basement of a monastery church. They take from the rich a pound of coffee, a pair of shoes and leave the stolen goods secretly to the most needy in the city.

In parallel storylines, Leonhard Frank tells of the latently smoldering neo-Nazism in postwar Germany, and the tragic love between a German girl and an American soldier and the fate of the Jewish Heimkehrerin Ruth.”


Who is Leonhard Frank?
Leonhard Frank is a German expressionist writer and the most famous author of Würzburg–his hometown. During WWII, his works were regarded as treasonous and his books were banned and burned.  He lived most of his adult life in exile, though returned to Germany in 1950 and was granted entry into the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, awarded a silver medal from the City of Würzburg, and in 1957, four years before his death was awarded the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The (organized) reading of this book ended yesterday. Once we knew what we were looking for, we couldn’t miss it.  This event was well-publicized.

The first post is here.  A few more pics:

(click to enlarge)