I was born in 1937 in the town of Marienwerder, which was then the government seat of Western Prussia and today belongs to Poland. On 1 January 1945 the whole family had to flee for the duration of 10 months to Neustadt an der Saale in Franconia in the southern German state of Bavaria, my father's home. In 1956 I passed the high school diploma, Abitur, and went to Hamburg to do English and Romance philology. Due to a break with my fascist parents I had to finance my studies all by myself, by working in 50 different industries, from building sites and ports to being an extra on film sets and assistant cameraman. In 1957 I had my first experiences with demonstrations (against France’s war in Algeria) and police. From 1960 – 1965 I studied in Freiburg im Breisgau, and between 1965 and 1966 I was the art director of a well known art gallery in Switzerland. At the end of 1966 I moved to Stockholm, where my daughter was born. In 1967 I had close contacts with the FNL movement and the mass demonstrations against the US war in Vietnam. Also, I was a member of Clarté.
In 1968 I returned to Frankfurt am Main in Germany, where I was very active in the student movement. I wrote my first articles, translations and lectures for student leaflets. In 1970 I had my first publication ‘Indonesien: Analyse eines Massakers’ [Indonesia: Analysis of a Massacre]. My translations included Philippe Gavi’s ‘Konterrevolution in Indonesien’ [Contrerévolution en Indonésie] and Frantz Fanon’s ‘Afrikanische Revolution’ [Révolution Africaine], among others. I was co-founder of the first periodical in West Germany for Third World issues. I collaborated with Turkish and Spanish workers and their publications as well as student groups from Palestine, Iran, Ethiopia, Eritrea etc.
In 1971 I moved to Hamburg where I worked for 25 years as a freelancer for the Northern German Broadcasting Corporation NDR as well as Radio Bremen. I did features on the Third World, the environment (Spain, Switzerland, Canada), ethnic minorities (Basques, Sami, Rhaetians) and further publications on Indonesia and China. From 1979 to 1981 I lived in Tanzania with my family where I wrote features for radio (including a six part course in Swahili) and two books (due to the economic crisis only one of them was published: ‘Null Uhr – wenn die Sonne aufgeht’ [Zero hours – when the sun is rising]). After my return and because of waning interest in Third World issues I had to spend more time doing translations. I worked for almost all the big German publishers translating internationally renowned authors like Juan Goytisolo ‘La chanca’, Jan Myrdal ‘Indien wartet’, Fatima Mernissi ‘Angst vor der Moderne’ and Victor Ostrovsky’s books on Mossad.
For 10 years I was chairman of the German Chinese Friendship Society. I also continued my work in the Palestine, East Timor and Afghanistan (I published the ‘Afghanistan Pages’ and undertook a fact finding journey to Peshawar, where we ran a small hospital and a school) solidarity movements.
In 1994 I lived in Andalusia for a year, in a tiny house with a garden on a terrace high above the town of Motril. The jobs with the radio and the publishers gradually vanished. One publisher, while on a visit, encouraged me to write down my ‘memories’ (in which I predicted the consequences of the Oslo Accord with shocking accuracy). When he was about to publish them many years later, he died.
In 1995 I travelled to Sweden together with a friend (both of us are aficionados of Scandinavia), where each of us bought a house in the village of Klaveström. Since in Hamburg the situation in the job and housing market got more and more difficult (in 1989 the low paid translators flocked in great numbers from the GDR into West Germany, which greatly delighted the publishers), I moved to Sweden for good in 1998. Initially I still got the odd translation job, but that came to a complete end in 1999. So I got jobs – as house renovator, gardener, language course leader and teacher. Since 2003 I am a pensioner.
In 2007 I travelled in Venezuela for five weeks. I was tremendously impressed by the country and for the first time I could sense, and almost smell, the meaning of freedom, real freedom, not the pseudo freedom enjoyed in our ‘democracies’. The result was a six part documentary in Swedish, which was published by various websites and is now available on Tlaxcala. This brings me to my last point: I have been a member of Tlaxcala since 2009, something I am really proud of, because I can work together with so many dedicated people who are deeply committed to a common endeavour. And I sincerely hope that we can continue a few more years together with our endeavour and fantastic new site.
To see my blog go here
[Tlaxcala's note: Following a disagreement over the reality of a genocide in Rwanda in 1994, which Einar Schlereth denied, he left our network in 2011].