Franz Hessel

Born in Stettin in 1880, Franz Hessel moved with his mother and brother to Berlin following the death of his father. After studying law and Oriental Studies, he lived as an artist and bohemian in Munich and Paris. He cultivated relationships with writers such as Karl Wolfskehl (1869–1948), Stefan George (1868–1933) and Countess Fanny/Franziska zu Reventlow (1871–1918). His literary output was devoted to the topic of Germany and France before the First World War as well as to observations on metropolitan life in Berlin. The art dealer and author Henri-Pierre Roché’s (1879–1959) fictionalized account of the love triangle between himself, Hessel and the painter Helen Grund (1886–1982) would serve as the basis for François Truffaut’s (1932–1984) 1962 film "Jules et Jim". In 1938 Hessel fled to southern France. There, in 1941, he was interned by the Vichy authorities at the Les Milles camp. Although he was released after two months, Hessel died taht same year at Sanary-sur-Mer of the effects of his internment. Hessel’s son was the diplomat and author Stéphane Hessel (1917–2013).


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