Oskar Maria Graf (Oskar Graf)
BiographyBerg am Starnberger See, Germany
German novelist Oskar Maria Graf was born in the Bavarian town of Berg am Starnbarger See in 1894. His father was a baker, and Oskar--like his five brothers--learned the family business while still a child. However, he wasn't planning to spend the rest of his life in the family's bakery, and at age 16 he ran away from home and went to Munich, determined to become a writer. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, he was drafted into the German army and posted to the Russian front. Read more... to heart and refused to carry a gun, and in 1917 he was thrown out of the army. He returned to Munich after the war, and in the early 1930s he became aware of the National Socialist (Nazi) party and its leader, Adolf Hitler. Graf--by now a successful writer--was horrified by their agenda and beliefs and fought them at every turn. When Hitler took power in 1933, Graf left Germany for Austria, and although the Nazis tried to persuade him to support Hitler and their cause, he absolutely refused. On the day when the Nazis held a nationwide book-burning of works by authors they deemed to be "immoral", "anti-German" and "treasonous", Graf sent Hitler a letter demanding that his books be burned also. The Nazis not only obliged, but also stripped him of his German citizenship. In 1934 he left Austria for Czechoslovakia, and when the Germans invaded Czechslovakia he fled to the US and settled in New York City.