Life and books

Manfred Flügge

Born in 1946 in Kolding, Denmark, Manfred Flügge grew up in the industrial Ruhr region. He studied history and French literature in Münster (West Germany) and in Lille (France) and earned his doctorate in 1976. He taught French Literature and Culture at the Freie Universität in Berlin (1976 – 1988). Since 1988 he has lived as a freelance writer in Berlin. 

Flügge has written extensively on the fate of German writers in exile during the 1930s, especially in Paris and in the small town of Sanary-sur-Mer on the Riviera. He is also the author of a documentary novel on the German resistance to Hitler. One of Flügge’s main interests as a writer is best described by the French term mythomanie, the invented life of real persons, and their imaginary doubles, from Napoleon to Heinrich Schliemann, to name a few. Currently, he is working on a study about Vienna in March 1938.

For the last 20 years, Manfred Flügge has traveled extensively and intensively. In 1994, he was writer in residence at the Döblin-Haus in Wewelsfleth, near Hamburg and in 1997, he was a fellow at Villa Aurora in Los Angeles, sponsored by the Foundation for European American Relations. Invitations from Goethe Institutes around the world have brought him for readings and presentations in Paris, Nice, Lyon, Sanary-sur-Mer, Lille, Brussels, Zurich, Osaka, Jerusalem, Oxford (Ohio), San Francisco, Nida. In 2003 he was writer in residence at Miami University at Oxford, Ohio.

He has written several plays, in German and in French, he publishes literary criticism in journals like Die Welt or Magazine Littéraire. He has written some radio features and participated the production of documentary film: The Diplomat (On Stéphane Hessel, 1995)


Paris ist schwer.  Deutsche Lebensläufe in Frankreich. Berlin: Arsenal, 1991.

(German artists in Paris, before and after 1933; exile in France)


Gesprungene Liebe.  Die wahre Geschichte zu 'Jules und Jim'. (Dokumentar-Roman) Berlin: Aufbau, 1993.

(The true story of the characters of the novel and the movie 'Jules and Jim'; translated in French, Italian, and Japanese)


Der Diplomat. Dokumentarfilm, 1995.

(Documentary film on Stéphane Hessel, the son of 'Jules', hero of French resistance and French diplomat to the UN in New York and Geneva, later on in Africa)


Meine Sehnsucht ist das Leben.  Eine Geschichte aus dem deutschen Widerstand. (Dokumentar-Roman) Berlin: Aufbau, 1996.

(Documentary novel about two young resistance fighters in Berlin in 1941)


Wider Willen im Paradies.   Deutsche Schriftsteller im Exil in Sanary-sur-Mer. Berlin: Aufbau Taschenbuch, 1996. 

(Essays on German writers in exile at Sanary-sur-Mer, Côte d'Azur)


Zu spät für Amerika. Roman. Berlin: Aufbau, 1998.

(Too late for America. Autobiographical Novel)


Der Engel bin ich. Gespräche und Beobachtungen in Los Angeles. Berlin: Aufbau-Taschenbuch, 1999. 

(Observations and conversations in Los Angeles)


Heinrich Schliemanns Weg nach Troia. Die Geschichte eines Mythomanen .München: dtv premium, 2001. 

(The real and the invented life of the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann)


Figaros Schicksal. Das Leben des Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. München: dtv premium, 2001. 

(The life of the eighteenth-century French playwright Beaumarchais)


Rettung ohne Retter, oder: Ein Zug aus Theresienstadt. 

München 2004, dtv premium

(1200 Jews rescued from Theresienstadt in February 1945. A true story.)

Heinrich Mann. Eine Biographie. Reinbek 2006

(A biography of the writer Heinrich Mann, brother to Thomas Mann.)


Die vier Leben der Marta Feuchtwanger. Biographie. Berlin 2008.

(A woman’s biography in French and American Exile.)


Das flüchtige Paradies. Künstler an der Côte d'Azur. Berlin 2008.

(Artists and Writers in Exile on the French Riviera.)


Stéphane Hessel - Ein glücklicher Rebell. Berlin 2012.

(Biography of Stéphane Hessel, member of the French Resistance and French diplomat in the postwar period.)


Muse des Exils. Das Leben der Malerin Eva Herrmann. Frankfurt am Main 2012.

(Portrait of an American female artist among the German émigrés.)

Das Jahrhundert der Manns. Berlin 2015.

(An Essay on the family of the writer Thomas Mann)