AN -- Biographies

Deutsche biographische Enzyklopädie (DBE) [German Biographical Encyclopedia]. Ed. Walther Killy and Rudolf Vierhaus. Paperback ed. 10 vols. (vol. 1-3, ed. Walther Killy). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag; Saur, 2001. 26 cm. (dtv, 59053). ISBN 3-423-59053-X (dtv), ISBN 3-598-23161-X (Saur): EUR 255.00 [02-1-008]

Deutsche biographische Enzyklopädie & Deutscher biographischer Index [German Biographical Encyclopedia & German Biographical Index]. München: Saur, 2001. 1 CD-ROM + guide (4 p.) ISBN 3-598-40360-7: EUR 1,2.00; EUR 278.00 (for owners of the book edition) [02-1-009]

Dictionary of German Biography: (DGB). Ed. Walther Killy and Rudolf Vierhaus. English transl. Christiane Banerji. München: Saur. 25 cm. ISBN 3-598-23290-X [02-1-010]

Vol. 1. Aachen–Boguslawski. 2001. xxxi, 647 p. ISBN 3-598-23291-8: EUR 229.00

The main set of the first work was published with impressive speed in 10 volumes between 1995 and 1999. Volumes 11 and 12 followed, each in two parts, with supplement and indexes (see RREA 6:39 and RREA 7:30). The usefulness of this work is uncontested for basic biographical data on the approximately 60,000 persons included; but 59,000 of the biographies are brief, compiled from other sources (not always the best ones), and all too often fall short on closer examination.

Volumes of selected entries from the DBE covering specific professions, periods, and regions are now being produced (see RREA 8:62 and RREA 8:281). Meanwhile, Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag has published an unchanged paperback edition of the 10-volume main set, which unfortunately does not include the supplementary entries on about 1,200 persons. An inexpensive anniversary edition from 1999 (volumes 1–10) is also still available from Saur.

The CD-ROM contains the text of the DBE along with the indexes to the first two parts of the Deutsches Biographisches Archiv [German Biographical Archive] as two separate databases. According to the publisher’s prospectus, the DBE contains articles on 56,000 persons in 29 categories (no reason is given for the smaller number of entries). For persons mentioned in an article, the user can call up either the DBE entry or short biographical information. The two databases are linked.

Saur has entered new terrain, one appropriate for a publisher operating internationally, by issuing an English translation of the DBE. Originally announced under the title Dictionary of German National Biography, the first volume is now available under the corrected title Dictionary of German Biography. Apparently the cost and effort are so great that the 10 volumes are only coming out gradually. That will not hinder the DGB from being considered the German national biography, since users will not have to deal with a “foreign” language, although they could instead be getting the highquality articles of the Neue Deutsche Biographie [New German Biography]. (Volume 2 of the 8th edition of Walford’s Guide to Reference Material gives a taste of German national biography from an Anglo-American perspective.) [sh/gh]

Biographisches Lexikon zum Dritten Reich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Third Reich]. Ed. Hermann Weiß. Rev. ed. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2002. 503 p. 19 cm. (Fischer-Taschenbücher, 13086) (Die Zeit des Nationalsozialimus). ISBN 3-596-13086-7: EUR 14.90 [02-1-012]

Although the paperback edition of this work is labeled “revised,” an extensive comparison with the original edition of 1998 produced no indication of any substantive changes. An additional page has resulted from the new edition’s slightly smaller format, but the more than 500 signed brief biographies, mainly contributed by members of the Munich Institut für Zeitgeschichte [Institute for Contemporary History], remain the same. Libraries that already own the earlier edition will not need to acquire this one. [sh/nb]

Mann für Mann: biographisches Lexikon [Man for Man: A Biographical Dictionary]. Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller. (Licensed ed. of the Männerschwarm-Skript-Verlag, Hamburg.) Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2001. 926 p. 21 cm. (Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch, 3266). ISBN 3-518-39766-4: EUR 20.00 [02-1-013]

Einführung in die Historiographie der Homosexualitäten [Introduction to the Historiography of Homosexualities]. Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller. Tübingen: Edition Diskord, 1999. 191 p. 21 cm. (Historische Einführungen, 5). ISBN 3-89295-678-2: EUR 14.00 [02-1-014]

In Mann für Mann historian Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller draws on historical-critical methodology and sources to create a work that fills gaps in “heterosexualizing” biographies and historiography (p. 17), while eschewing simplistic categorization of people as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. This paperback edition leaves the text of the 1998 first edition unchanged, except for 10 pages containing 12 new biographies of men who died between 1998 and 2000. Neither living men nor any women are covered in this dictionary, whose historical scope extends from the Middle Ages to the contemporary period. The dictionary contains some 430 long essays and about 600 short entries. Long entries begin with a “motto,” a quotation from the subject or a friend; the lack of context here sometimes has an awkward effect. A genealogical section, followed by a biography focusing on the web of private relationships that does not skirt taboos, and bibliographical references (mainly supporting documentation, but with some items for further reading) make up the rest of the long entry. As a reference work on a special group of people, this dictionary belongs on the shelves of both public and academic libraries.

Hergemöller also knows the material outside the German-speaking area, as may be seen in the 640 monographs and essays named in the 50-page bibliography of his 1999 historiographical volume. Many of the works cited here are, not surprisingly, in English, but other languages, such as French and Dutch, are also represented. Although there are a number of important gaps in the bibliography, e.g., Gay and Lesbian Biography (Detroit; London, 1997) (see IFB 99-B09-050) and Gay and Lesbian Literature (Detroit; London, 1994 and 1998) (see IFB 99-B09-053), this is still a very useful overview of the current state of research, which one hopes will be continued in future editions. [sh/rb]

Kürschners deutscher Sachbuch-Kalender [Kürschner’s Handbook of German Nonfiction]. Ed. Andreas Klimt. München; Leipzig: Saur. 21 cm. [02-1-015]

Vol. 1. 2001–02. 2002. xiii, 663 p. ISBN 3-598-24180-1: EUR 210.00

Saur’s gradual takeover of the bio-bibliographies published under the Kürschner name has improved their fortunes. By the end of 2001, Saur had revived the tradition of Kürschners deutscher Musik-Kalender, last published in 1954, and also initiated a new bio-bibliography, the Sachbuch-Kalender, designed to fill the gap for popular nonfiction publications left by the other bio-bibliographies in the Kürschner stable. Of course, it is difficult to draw hard and fast lines between the popular nonfiction authors treated in the new work and the academics featured in the Gelehrten-Kalender, since many authors represented here for some of their writings are (and should be) present in the Gelehrten-Kalender based their other works. How this overlap will shake out over time remains to be seen. The Sachbuch-Kalender covers 4,013 authors published in the German language. Entries include short biographies of each author, names of books of which they have complete or shared authorship or publication, as well as films, radio shows and other non-book publications, translations, and secondary literature. There is a calendar of authors’ major birthdays, a list of nonfiction publishers’ addresses, a subject index to authors and works by broad subject groupings, and an index to authors by place of residence. E-mail addresses and web pages for the authors and publishers are given on an affiliated web page at Saur http://www.saur.de/kdl. The publisher plans to publish new editions of the useful Sachbuch-Kalender every two years. [sh/rb]

Personenlexikon Österreich [Austrian Biographical Dictionary]. Ed. Ernst Bruckmüller. Wien: Verlagsgemeinschaft Österreich-Lexikon, 2001. 575 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 3-95004-387-X: EUR 36.00 [02-1-016]

This publication offers very brief biographies of approximately 7,000 Austrians. Although the emphasis is on the country in its present boundaries, Austrians who lived outside of these borders, as well as foreigners active in Austria and individuals from the era of the Habsburg monarchy, are included. Coverage extends to all periods of Austrian history up to the present. About 6,000 of the 7,000 entries are updated entries from the two-volume Österreich-Lexikon (Wien, 1995). A brief bibliography of primary and secondary sources and a black-and-white picture accompany most entries. This is a useful resource for ready-reference information even in collections where the Österreich-Lexikon is already available. [sh/baw]

Die großen Österreicherinnen: 90 außergewöhnliche Frauen im Porträt [Great Austrian Women: 90 Extraordinary Women in Portraits]. Hertha Kratzer. Wien: Ueberreuter, 2001. 207 p. ill. 22 cm. ISBN 3-8000-3815-3: EUR 24.90 [02-1-017]

This work supplements and complements three earlier compilations dealing with Austrian women, which appeared under the general title: Heimat bist Du grosser Töchter: Österreicherinnen im Laufe der Jahrhunderts [Thou Art the Homeland of Glorious Daughters: Austrian Women Through the Centuries] (Wien, 1992); Weitere Porträts [Further Portraits] (Wien, 1995); Bedeutende Frauen und ihre Geschichte [Eminent Women and Their Histories] (Wien, 1996). There is some overlap among these resources, but new information is also presented in this most recent compilation. Beginning with the early 19th century and concluding in the 20th century, the entries are arranged in four chronological chapters according to their subjects’ year of birth. They range in length from one to four pages, and generally are written in a journalistic style. Very little information on sources or secondary literature is provided. [sh/baw]

Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels [Genealogical Handbook of the Nobility]. Limburg an der Lahn: Starke [02-2-220]

Vol. 112. Gräfliche Häuser 15 [The Families of Counts and Countesses, Pt. 15]. 1999. CD-ROM. ISBN 3-7980-0379-3: EUR 35.00

The print edition of Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels (GHdA) consists by now of 128 volumes and is, along with Deutsches Geschlechterbuch (DtGB) [Handbook of German Genealogy], one of the most comprehensive genealogical and biographical reference works available for the German-speaking countries. The GHdA covers 4,000 families of nobility and includes biographies of the individual members of each family. The publishing house of Starke has now begun releasing a CD-ROM version of this reference work. The first of these contains the contents of print volume 112 (1997) covering 55 families headed by a count or countess. It also contains an index to all published print volumes of the GHdA. The CD-ROM allows for searching by family name, line of descent, and genealogy, and features practical help functions. However, some abbreviations are not explained, and to determine their meaning one has to consult the print volumes. The CD-ROM contains biographies of the counts and countesses, while biographies of their other relatives can be found in the print volumes of GHdA. Also included are illustrations of coats of arms and castles, as well as some portraits. The electronic format enables easy full-text searching, a feature that is superior to searching the print volumes. Navigation is relatively easy, and installation can be accomplished without complication even with Windows 95. Apparently the GHdA will continue to appear in print format, thereby facilitating long-term archival purposes. However, it is to be hoped that publication of this reference work on CD-ROM will also continue. Electronic searching capabilities would be greatly enhanced if several print volumes were cumulated into digital form. Due to the political and socioeconomic standing of the nobility, the GHdA is an important biographical reference work, and it makes sense for libraries to acquire it in electronic format. [be/ba]

Biographisches Lexikon der Deutschen Burschenschaft [Biographical Dictionary of German Fraternities]. Helge Dvorak. Ed. Christian Hünemörder for the Gesellschaft für Burschenschaftliche Geschichtsforschung (GfbG). Heidelberg: Winter. 25 cm. [02-2-221]

Vol. 1. Politiker [Politicians], Sect. 5: R–S. 2002. xii, 588 p. ill. ISBN 3-8253-1256-9: EUR 88.00

This is the penultimate section of the vast volume 1, Politicians, of this biographical dictionary published by the Gesellschaft für Burschenschaftliche Geschichtsforschung (GfbG) [Society for the Study of Fraternity History]; the previous section was reviewed in RREA 7:33. The lateness of this volume (there was to be one per year) might be explained by its size—it contains over 500 entries and is around 200 pages thicker than any of its predecessors. The foreword by Austrian Günter Czerwinka is remarkable for its historical survey of the Austrian fraternities, long known as breeding grounds for extreme conservative and right-radical ideas. This biographical dictionary helps to illuminate both the highlights and lowlights of German fraternity history. [sh/hh]

Handbuch österreichischer Autorinnen und Autoren jüdischer Herkunft 18. bis 20. Jahrhundert [Handbook of Austrian Authors of Jewish Origin, 18th to 20th Centuries]. Ed. Susanne Blumesberger for the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. 3 vols. München: Saur, 2002. xxiii, 1,818 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-598-11545-8: EUR 320.00 [02-2-222]

Although the editors of this work deprecate the notion that it represents a form of “spiritual reparation,” it is in fact just that, as Hans Merte, former director of the Austrian National Library, states in his preface to the work. The work had its origins in the aftermath of the Kurt Waldheim affair. It aims to present a comprehensive collection of brief biographies of Austrian authors, male and female, of Jewish origin, with special attention to little-known authors. The terms “Austrian” and “of Jewish origin” are defined as broadly as possible, and the term “authors” includes composers as well. “Austrian” refers here to persons who lived within the national borders in effect during the period covered, and additionally to persons who demonstrated an “Austrian focus” in their lives through residing in Austria for more than 10 years. Although coverage begins with the 18th century, the work clearly places more weight on the 20th century, with special emphasis on Jewish authors who were persecuted, killed, or forced into exile by the Nazis. All available sources were utilized. A total of 1,119 printed sources are listed on pages 1,531–1,574. Additionally, every attempt was made to contact living authors (or relatives of recently deceased authors) for personal interviews, leading to the inclusion of much additional information about the fate of exiled authors. There are ca. 8,000 entries. Entries are structured as follows: name (with variant forms and pseudonyms); birth and death dates and places; very brief biographical note; profession(s); relatives; a detailed assessment of the author’s works; personal papers and archives information; sources (titles are given in extremely abbreviated form, but are also identified by the numbers assigned to their full citations in the bibliography). Unfortunately, the entries do not include full lists of authors’ works; they tend to list only a few selected works or indeed, give only a very general statement about the author’s production. Indexes include pseudonyms and variant names; professions (this list utilizes the German language’s gender-specific terms for professions—e.g., both Arzt and Ärztin—so that one can easily see which professions were available to women and in what degree); and a listing of place names that allows the searcher to discover which authors were born or died in a particular locality.

Because of its lack of comprehensive lists of works, this lexicon will serve best as a jumping-off point for further research, for example by using Renate Heuer’s Lexikon deutsch-jüdischer Autoren (see RREA 6:42). It is a pity that the entries here are not linked to the new edition of Karl Stock’s Personalbibliographien österreichischer Dichterinnen und Dichter, which must surely have been available to this handbook’s editors, as it was brought out at about the same time by the same publisher. [sh/crc]

Schriftstellerinnen und Schriftsteller der Gegenwart = Écrivaines et écrivains d’aujourd’hui = Scrittrici e scrittori d’oggi [Contemporary Writers]. Ed. Anne-Lise Delacrétaz for the Schweizerischer Schriftstellerinnen- und Schriftsteller-Verband. Aarau: Sauerländer, 2002. xvi, 468 p. 22 cm. ISBN 3-0345-0011-4: EUR 32.00 [02-2-223]

The 1988 edition of this work on Swiss authors has been expanded from 1,600 to 2,000 entries, in part due to the inclusion of literary translators, and also writers from Liechtenstein. Non-fiction authors are also still included, as in the first edition. All data are based on self-submissions by the authors, with additional information added by the editors. In some instances, where the author in question was too significant to leave out, yet did not answer the editors’ request for information, the entry was written entirely by the editorial team. Entries are printed in the native language of the author and generally include: address, e-mail and Web page addresses, birth date, native community, education and profession, prizes, memberships, a list of publications by genre, and selected critical literature, excluding sources listed in the two handbooks for literary and non-fiction authors (see RREA 7:91 and RREA 8:28), to which the work at hand is an important supplement. Also included is a necrology with brief information on writers who died after the release of the previous edition. [sh/dsa]

Dicţionar de prenume si nume de famile [Dictionary of Forenames and Surnames]. Maria Cosniceanu. 3d ed. Chisinău: Museum, 1999. 95 p. 20 cm. ISBN 9-975-905-23-4

Femei din Moldova: enciclopedie [Women of Moldova: Encyclopedia]. Ed. Iurie Colesnic. Chiinău: Museum, 2000. 311 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 9-975-905-42-0

An RREO Original Review

These two hardcover titles are the latest Romanian-language biographical and genealogical resources released by the leading Moldovan reference book publisher, Museum.

The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic gained linguistic independence in August 1989, when the official state language was changed from Russian to “Moldavian,” which is in all but name the Romanian language, and from the Cyrillic alphabet to the Roman. Onomastic independence began in June 1990, when the country’s name changed to Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova, and was completed in May 1991, with the change in name to Republic of Moldova. Political independence quickly followed: in August 1991, Moldova declared its independence and demanded the withdrawal of the Red Army 14th division, a process yet to be completed.

Moldova, often called by scholars the “crossroads of east and west,” is the most ethnically diverse country in Europe, with sizable populations of Romanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Gagauz, Bulgarians, Jews, Belorussians, Poles, Roma, Germans, and Greeks. The largest ethnic group is Romanian at 40% of the population, but internal politics (Moldova was part of Romania from 1918–1940) prevented the country’s language from being called Romanian, and is thus constitutionally codified as “Moldavian.” Linguistic diversity is cited as the chief reason for the creation of the Dicţionar de prenume i nume de famile [DPNF]. With so many ethnic groups using a variety of alphabets (five Graeco-Slavic, two Roman, one Turkic, and Hebrew), there results a tremendous variety of names and their spelling. One simple example of a male forename shall suffice: Pahomie (Romanian), Pakhomii (Russian), and Pakhom (Ukranian).

Originally published in 1991, and revised in 1993 under the auspices of the Republican Commission for the Regulation and Preservation of National Onomastics and the Ministries of Justice, Science, and Education, DPNF is designed to aid civil servants, clergy, and educators in the standardized spelling of names in Moldavian, the official state language. The author claims that “nearly all” names in use by the ethnic Romanian community are represented in this new edition. Given the long tradition of Soviet and Romanian onomastic research, such a claim is truly valid.

DPNF includes a preface explaining and justifying the work; an introduction on the linguistic methodology; an introduction to Romanian-language orthography; and a bibliography on Romanian-language onomastics; followed by four lists of names, arranged in four columns each: male first names, female first names, family names, and an appendix of “archaic and popular” first names, both male and female. This third edition offers slightly revised lists of names, a slightly expanded bibliography, and a new preface.

The stated intention of DPNF as a guide to standardization has little appeal abroad outside of the obviously narrow field of anthroponymy, yet it does offer value to historians and genealogists, and has, in fact, been used by this reviewer to answer a reference question on Moldovan genealogy.

Although many of the egalitarian principles of Soviet communism were never realized, in many respects there was, in fact, gender equality. Femei din Moldova documents 665 women from the 16th century to the present who have made significant contributions to the “cultural, spiritual, social, and material” development of Moldova. Most of the entries are on 20th-century personalities, in part owing to that perhaps sole accomplishment of Soviet communism, with proportionally decreasing content from earlier centuries.

DPNF begins with an editor’s preface describing the content and editorial methodology, a list of abbreviations, and an introduction to the history of women in Moldovan society, their movements, and their participation in specific professions, such as politics, science, and sports. Following these sections is a brief chronology noting significant moments in Moldovan women’s history, such as the founding of organizations and “famous firsts.”

Over 40 scholars and writers have contributed signed biographies to the volume. Arranged alphabetically in two-column format, entries average approximately 300 words, and include birth and death dates and locations, profession, photograph or portrait (most entries), brief biography, list of national honors or creative works, and, for some entries, a bibliography of sources. The matter-of-fact, objective biographies include details on family, education or training, and note significant accomplishments. Included are actors, artists, athletes, doctors, educators and librarians, politicians, musicians, scholars, scientists, singers, and writers, including immigrants and residents, expatriates, and Moldovans proper. For example, there are entries for Olga Nakko, the Odessa-born poet who spent a few years in Chiinău; Bunte Crupnic, the Moldovan communist activist and later leader in the Belgian Resistance; and Inesa Ţâpin, the Chiinău-born and residing contemporary artist. The individuals included are truly significant in Moldovan history, and the biographies, albeit brief, are substantive and well-written. The only weakness of the volume is that it lacks indexes for professions and for centuries—features that would have made the book more useful to researchers.

Both these titles are valuable biographical and genealogical resources that ought to be acquired by libraries with interests in East European studies, linguistics, and women’s studies.

DPNF is available from all three major vendors specializing in East European imprints: East View Information Services ($24.95), Kubon & Sagner (EUR 15.85), and MIPP International ($23). Femei din Moldova is available from East View ($25.95) and Kubon & Sagner (EUR 21.99).

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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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