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Banat Biographies
Banat Biographies Index Est. 13 Feb 2010 at by Jody McKim Pharr.

KAPPUS, Franz Xaver *1883 Temeschwar +1966 possibly Berlin2
Banat Journalist, Writer & Author; founder of the Free Democratic Party in Berlin.

Franz Xaver Kappus (b. 17 May 1883 , Timisoara – d. 9 October 1966 , Berlin), Austrian officer for 15 years, journalist and writer of German, a native of Banat. 

Died 8 October 1966 in Berlin, Germany.

From Expressionism to Entertainment (Tribute to Franz Xaver Kappus) By William Totok

During this time he wrote poems, humorous sketches, sketches, which were published in newspapers and magazines in Vienna, Munich and Berlin. In 1911, he is engaged in literary work of the Imperial War Department office and edited the magazine Military Rundschau in Vienna. Kappus in 1914 had on the Eastern Front, where he received a lung shot and was rushed to hospital. In 1916 he married his nurse Alexandra in Stuttgart from Malachowska. From 1917 he served as editor of the Belgrade News, where he is an associate of Otto Alscher. In 1918 he received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Franz Josef and came in the autumn of that year to Timisoara.

Between 1903 and 1908, while studying at the military school in St. Poelten, he sent his first literary poet Rainer Maria Rilke, a former student of the same military school, waiting for the judgment of the master. The letters have not survived. Instead, they kept Rilke's responses (two from France, five in Italy, two in Sweden and one of Worpswede). These ten letters combined have appeared in 1929 in volume Éinen years young poet letters (Letters to a Young Poet), which was reprinted several times. In 1977 the book was published in Romanian translation, Facla house in Timisoara. Translators were Ulvine and John Alexander, and signed with an afterword by Andrew A. Lillin.

First published literary attempts in Timisoara were some expressionist poetry. 

Followed World War II, in which Franz Xaver Kappus, the Austro-Hungarian army officer, he continued to work with the Belgrade newspaper literary news (News from Belgrade). The first officer on par fighters, but then became a press officer.

From Expressionism to Entertainment (Tribute to Franz Xaver Kappus) By William Totok

In 1918, the Berlin publisher Ullstein & Co., appeared novel “Die lebenden Vierzehn” (fourteen survivors). 

After the war, in the early 1920s, he became editor of the newspaper Kappus Deutsche Wacht (Straja German), which then changed its title Banater Tagblatt (Banat Daily). At the same time, work on the most important newspaper in the capital of the Banat, Temeswarer Zeitung (Tiara Timisoara), and the Swabian Volkspresse (Saxon popular press). 

While living in Timisoara, he published several short stories, sketches and novels. In 1921 appeared his most important writing, his novel “Die im Peitsche Antlitz” (in the face of the whip). 

In 1922 appeared his novel “Der Rote Reiter” (Red Rider). 

In 1925 Kappus settled in Berlin, where he published numerous entertainment novels without great literary ambitions. In 1935 he published “Brautfahrt um Lena” (Lena spoken for) which is the subject of Romanian work experience in Timisoara.

Based on his novel “Der Rote Reiter,” Kappus wrote the film with the same name, made ​​in 1934-1935 by German director Rolf Randolf. (Film info)

After the Second World War, Kappus became the founder of the Free Democratic Party in Berlin. And published his latest novel, “Flucht in die Liebe” (Refuge in love), which addresses aspects of the antifascist resistance.


  • In mohr gray skirt. Cadets sketches, Vienna 1903

  • The Marquise. Comic opera by V. Leon, 1908

  • The favorite of the king. Comedy, 1912 (with K. Robitschek)

  • Her picture. One-act play, 1912 (with K. Robitschek)

  • Ha! What a pleasure ... military satires, Vienna 1912

  • Average monocle. Military satires, Vienna and Leipzig, 1913

  • Blood and iron. War stories, Stuttgart 1916

  • The new gold. Contemporary satire, 1913 (with Siegfried Geyer)

  • The living Fourteen novel, Berlin 1918

  • The whip in the face. Story of a doomed man, Roman, Berlin 1918

  • The red horseman, novel, Berlin (filmed in 1923 and 1935) 1922

  • The man with two souls, novel, Berlin 1924

  • The billions of Caesar, Roman, Berlin 1925

  • The death in a race car, novel, Berlin 1925

  • The reversed face, Roman, Berlin 1925

  • The ball in the net, novel 1927

  • Yacht Estrella disappeared, novel, Berlin 1928

  • The wife of the artist Oldenburg, 1928

  • Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, Insel Verlag Leipzig, 1929 (ed.)

  • Martina and the dancers', novel, Berlin and Vienna 1929

  • Jump out of the luxury train, novel, Berlin, 1929

  • One night many years ago, Roman, Berlin 1930

  • People from outside. Short stories, Timisoara 1930

  • The Hamlet of Ljubljana, novel, Berlin 1931

  • The daughter of the aviator, novel, Berlin 1935

  • Race for life, novel, 1935

  • S wedding to Lena, novel 1935

  • A boat has sunk, Roman, Berlin 1936

  • What is with Quidam, novel 1936

  • You are Violetta! Novel, Berlin 1937

  • Flaming shadow novel, Berlin 1941

  • Escape into love, romance, Berlin 1949


  • The Red Rider, 1923

  • The woman in gold, 1926

  • Les voleurs de gloire, 1926

  • The Red Rider, 1935 remake

  • The man to whom they stole the name, 1944


  • Biographical Encyclopedia of the Banat Germanism, Dr. Anton Peter Petri, Druck + Verlag GmbH wide, Marquartstein 1992

  • The unemotional hikers. Franz Xaver Kappus, recipient of the Rilke Letters to a Young Poet and his relationships Banat by Franz Liebhard in people and times, Bucharest 1970

  • Cultural region Banat. German culture in a European multi-ethnic region, Walter Engel (Ed.), plain text Verlag, Essen 2007 (article by Edward Schneider, East-West impressions and reports. To the journalistic contributions by Franz Xaver Kappus of Timisoara and Berlin)

Various Books by or about Kappus:

Letters to a Young Poet - Franz Xaver Kappus (Author) is a compilation of letters by Rainer Maria Rilke. It consists of 10 letters written to a young man (Franz Xaver Kappus) trying to choose between a literary career and entering the Austro-Hungarian Army. The letters were originally written to Franz Kappus, a 19-year-old officer cadet at the Vienna Military Academy, of which Rilke was an alumnus. Discouraged by the prospect of life in the Austro-Hungarian Army, Kappus began to send his poetry to the 27-year-old Rilke, seeking both literary criticism and career advice. Their correspondence lasted from 1902 to 1908. In 1929, three years after Rilke's death, Kappus assembled and published the ten letters.  These ten letters--among the most famous and beloved of this century--reveal the deeply felt ideas about life and art that shaped the great poet's work.

Hardcover, Publisher: Berlin: Insel Verlag Leipzig, 1929 & Ullstein 1937, Language: German, ASIN: B001G68ND8

These letters have been translated into English by Stephen Mitchell and can be read at


Franz Xaver Kappus (1883 - 1966) by Kurt Adel

Publisher: Peter Lang GmbH (October 13, 2006), Language: German, ISBN-10: 363155401X, ISBN-13: 978-3631554012, Paperback: 204 pages 


Die Frau des Künstlers. o.A. (The wife of the Artist) by Kappus, Franz Xaver Published 1928, 319 pgs.


Martina und der Tänzer - Glöckner s Bücher 5. (Martina and the dancers - Hunchback's fifth books) 250 pgs.


Flammende Schatten (Blazing Shadows)  382 pgs, published in Berlin, no date. Leather bound.


Jacht Estrella verschollen  (Marina Estrella Missing) (Subtitle: 'The story of a kidnapping'):
Hanover, Lehning 1953. First edition, 8vo, 141 pp.

From Expressionism to Entertainment

By William Totok, Berlin, November 14, 2006

40 years after the death of writer Franz Xaver Kappus of Timisoara,
"young poet" which Rilke wrote ...

"You know, dear Mr. Kappus, but we were happy to receive this letter from you. News that I give real and clear as again, I look good and, as I reflected more on their the more I felt really good. " With these sentences begin the 10th - and last - letter by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) addressed in 1908, the second day of Christmas, of Paris, a young poet in Timisoara.

"You know, dear Mr. Kappus, but we were happy to receive this letter from you. News that I give real and clear as again, I look good and, as I reflected more on their the more I felt really good. " With these sentences begin the 10th - and last - letter by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) addressed in 1908, the second day of Christmas, of Paris, a young poet in Timisoara.

Today almost forgotten, it is called Franz Xaver Kappus. He was born on 17 May 1883 in Timisoara and dared to send his first literary creations Rilke, waiting for the verdict master. Kappus sent Rilke's letters between 1903 and 1908 were lost. They kept only Rilke's responses (two letters from France, five in Italy, two in Sweden and one of Worpswede), appeared later in the book "Letters to a young poet". Since 1929, the volume of the 10 letters was reprinted several times, reaching a circulation of over 450,000 copies. In 1977 appeared an edition in Romanian Timisoara Facla House, translated by Ulvine and John Alexander, with an afterword by Andrew A. Lillin (1915-1985, known under the name of Andreas A. Lillin, as representative of "socialist realism" in ESPLA Lillin published in 1957, the controversial novel "the trend" "Jetzt, da das Korn gemahlen" - "Now when the wheat was ground").

Because of Rilke's letters, Kappus entered literature. Paradoxically, however, almost no one knows who was actually the recipient of the famous letters. Before the start of World War Kappus already published several poems tributary stream media expressionist Timisoara. As a military officer became newspaper "Belgrader Nachrichten" in the early 1920s and was editor of "Deutsche Wacht" Timisoara (which later was called "Banater Tagblatt"). Also, work the most important newspaper in the capital of Banat, "Temeswarer Zeitung", and the "Swabian Volkspresse". During Timisoara, has published several short stories, sketches and novels. The most important was writing, published in 1921, is the novel "Die im Peitsche Antlitz" ("whip in cheek"). This mini-novel is still more than a mere "paper era" because Kappus reports about the fate of a man stigmatized because of the fact that her features are distorted by a smile forever. Action novel, translated into Hungarian, is going to Timisoara, although the author makes no concrete reference to the locality mentioned. Disappointed provincial atmosphere, Kappus is decided to leave Romania in 1925, settled in Berlin. Here many Roman public entertainment, becoming a very popular author. Almost all writings appeared in Berlin's Kappus no literary pretensions. Only in 1935 is, in the novel "um Brautfahrt Lena" ("spoken for Lena"), the Romanian themes, trying to process the experiences gained in Timisoara.

Based on the 1922 novel, "Der Rote Reiter" ("Red Rider"), Kappus wrote the screenplay for the movie namesake, conducted in 1934-35 by German director Rolf Randolf. Also, Kappus has worked as a songwriter. The text of a German known hits, "Mamatschi", music by Oskar Schima, belongs to all of Kappus.

After the Second World War, the writer is founder of the Free Democratic Party in Berlin. Still publish one novel, "Flucht in die Liebe" ("Refuge in love"), which tackles the theme of antifascist resistance.

In Romania after the war, Franz Xaver Kappus was reissued just in time "Meltdown". It is remarkable that he became editor of Kappus former security officer Heinz Stanescu (1921-1994), who in 1950 played a key role in repressive actions directed against the Catholic Church. (Data output Heinz Stanescu of Security as an active officer is not known. He later became a literary critic, surveying ideological German literature in Romania. He edited the writings of the interwar period, for example Kappus's novel "Die lebenden Vierzehn" - "The 14 survivors "Kriterion Publishing, Bucharest, 1970, and satirical stories of the same writer," Der Wunderleutnant "-" Lieutenant miracle "Kriterion Publishing, Bucharest, 1971. The volume of literary studies" Berichte "-" Reports ", Publishing House for literature, Bucharest, 1967, Stanescu analyzes German literary creation in Romania of the ideological perspective of socialist realism. In 1976, Stanescu RF emigrated to Germany. He died during a trip to France, on May 13, 1994.)

Franz Xaver Kappus died on October 9, 1966, in Berlin. Unfortunately, the celebration of 40 years from his disappearance went unnoticed.

William Totok, Berlin

Source: De la expresionism la divertisment (Translated to English)

Published at by Jody McKim Pharr


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