Publicist and historian Johannes Willms died | free press

He directed the cultural program “aspects”, was the feature editor of the “SZ” and wrote books about France: Now Johannes Willms has died.


The inventor of the ZDF book show “The Literary Quartet”, Johannes Willms, is dead. The historian and publicist died on Tuesday night at the age of 74 in Munich, as reported by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and ZDF.

Willms came to ZDF from Hessischer Rundfunk in 1978, the broadcaster recalled. “From 1988 to 1992 he ran Germany’s oldest culture magazine ‘aspects’, where he had previously been an editor. During this time, the conception of the legendary book program ‘Das Literarisches Quartett’ with Marcel Reich-Ranicki also fell.”

The Literature Round has existed in various constellations for decades. The episodes of the 1990s with Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Hellmuth Karasek, Sigrid Löffler and changing guests were particularly successful. Thea Dorn is currently the sole host of the now redesigned book show in the second. Volker Weidermann and Christine Westermann had previously said goodbye to it.

From 1993 to 2000, Willms was in charge of the feuilleton of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and then went to Paris as a culture correspondent for the “SZ”. In 2009 he received the Prix de l’Académie de Berlin.

Books on the history of France

“Recently, Willms has emerged primarily as a historian with numerous publications, mainly on the history of France,” ZDF said. ZDF culture director Anne Reidt added: “As a historian and as a journalist, Johannes Willms has perfected the art of informing a large audience in a committed, differentiated and critical manner, while being extremely entertaining and always remaining authoritative despite all clarity.”

Johannes Willms studied history, political science and art history in Vienna, Seville and Heidelberg. He published historical biographies on Napoleon, Talleyrand, Mirabeau and Charles de Gaulle, but also wrote about Stendhal and Balzac, as well as Bismarck and the French Revolution. (dpa)


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