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Erich Maria Remarque

Erich Maria Remarque

Erich Maria Remarque (June 22, 1898 – September 25, 1970) was the pseudonym of Erich Paul Remark. He was born in Osnabrück (Germany) into a working-class Roman Catholic family. At the age of eighteen he enlisted as a soldier to the front lines of World War I, where he was wounded by stray shell fragments. After the war he changed his last name to Remarque, which had been the family-name of his grandmother. He worked at a number of different jobs, including librarian, businessman, teacher, journalist and editor.

In 1929, Remarque published his most famous work, "All Quiet on the Western Front" ("Im Westen nichts Neues") under the name Erich Maria Remarque (changing his middle name in honor of his mother), the novel described the utter cruelty of the war from the perspective of a nineteen-year-old soldier. A number of similar works followed; in simple, emotive language they realistically described wartime and the postwar years.

In 1933, the Nazis banned and burned Remarque's works, and issued propaganda stating that he was a descendant of French Jews and that his real last name was Kramer, his original name spelled backwards. This is still listed in some biographies despite the complete lack of proof. He had been living in Switzerland since 1931, and in 1939 he emigrated to the United States of America with his first wife, Ilsa Jeanne Zamboui, whom he married and divorced twice, and they became naturalized citizens of the United States in 1947. He married the Hollywood actress Paulette Goddard in 1958 and they remained married until his death in 1970.

In 1948 he went to Switzerland, where he spent the rest of his life until his death at the age of 72. He is interred in the Ronco cemetery in Ronco, Ticino, Switzerland, where Goddard is also interred.

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