Famous German Playwrights

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 1 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(Novelist Best Known for 'The Sorrows of Young Werther', the First Novel of The Sturm Und Drang Movement)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
9
Birthdate: August 28, 1749
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Goethe House, Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 22, 1832

Regarded as the greatest literary figure in Germany's modern era, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a statesman and writer. Apart from writing poetry and prose, he also wrote treatises on color, anatomy, and botany. Thanks to his literary genius, Goethe was made part of the Duke's privy council in Weimar and he implemented several reforms at the University of Jena.

 2 
Bertolt Brecht
(Theatre Practitioner, Playwright, and Poet Known for His Plays: ‘The Threepenny Opera’ and ‘Life of Galileo’)
Bertolt Brecht
6
Birthdate: February 10, 1898
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Augsburg, Germany
Died: August 14, 1956

German playwright, poet, and theater director, Bertolt Brecht, is best known for co-writing the play, The Threepenny Opera, with Kurt Weill. Growing up in war-torn Germany in the early 20th century, he had a difficult life. A hardcore Marxist, he lived in exile during the Nazi period. He returned to Germany after the war and established a theater company.

 3 
Friedrich Schiller
(Playwright and Poet Known for His Works 'The Robbers', 'Don Carlos' and 'Mary Stuart')
Friedrich Schiller
4
Birthdate: November 10, 1759
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marbach am Neckar, Germany
Died: May 9, 1805

Friedrich Schiller was a German poet, physician, philosopher, playwright, and historian. Schiller is best remembered for his friendship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the two discussed issues concerning aesthetics. Schiller's discussions with Goethe paved the way for a period, which came to be known as Weimar Classicism. Friedrich Schiller is also widely regarded as Germany's most prominent classical playwright.

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 4 
Günter Grass
(German Novelist & Nobel Prize Laureate, Best Known for His 1959 Novel, 'The Tin Drum')
Günter Grass
5
Birthdate: October 16, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Free City of Danzig, Poland
Died: April 13, 2015

Günter Grass was a German novelist, illustrator, graphic artist, poet, playwright, and sculptor. A much revered and decorated writer, Grass was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999. Over the course of his illustrious career, Günter Grass won many other awards, including the Georg Büchner Prize and the Hermann Kesten Prize.

 5 
Dietrich Eckart
4
Birthdate: March 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany
Died: December 26, 1923

German anti-Semitic völkisch poet, playwright, journalist, publicist, and political activist Dietrich Eckart, one of Adolf Hitler's earliest mentors who Hitler acknowledged as the spiritual co-founder of Nazism, founded German Workers' Party, the precursor of Nazi Party. Eckart was the original publisher of the Nazi Party newspaper Völkischer Beobachter, and lyricist of Sturmlied, the de facto anthem of the Sturmabteilung.

 6 
Georg Büchner
(German Dramatist and Writer of Prose and Poetry)
Georg Büchner
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1813
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Riedstadt, Germany
Died: February 19, 1837

Part of the Young Germany movement, German dramatist and author Georg Büchner was a revolutionary and a master of Expressionist plays. Born to an army doctor, he studied medicine but also simultaneously participated in pamphleteering for social issues. He is remembered for works such as Danton’s Death and Woyzeck.

 7 
Friedrich Hölderlin
(German Poet and Philosopher Best Known for His Novel 'Hyperion')
Friedrich Hölderlin
3
Birthdate: March 20, 1770
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lauffen am Neckar, Germany
Died: June 7, 1843

German lyric poet and dramatist Friedrich Hölderlin was a significant figure of German Romanticism. Initially pushed to join a Christian ministry by his mother, he later ditched the idea and was inspired by Greek mythology. He later suffered from schizophrenia and spent 36 years in a tower, later named the Hölderlinturm.

 8 
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
(Prominent Figure and Catalyst of the New German Cinema Movement)
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
5
Birthdate: May 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bad Wörishofen, Germany
Died: June 10, 1982

Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a German actor, filmmaker, and playwright. He grew up in the aftermath of World War II and had a tough childhood. He sought solace by watching films and took acting lessons. He began his career in theater and eventually entered films as well. He is considered a prominent figure of the New German Cinema movement. 

 9 
Nelly Sachs
(German-Swedish Poet and Playwright, Known for His Play ‘Eli: Ein Mysterienspiel vom Leiden Israels')
Nelly Sachs
4
Birthdate: December 10, 1891
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany
Died: May 12, 1970

Nelly Leonie Sachs, internationally noted German-Swedish poet and dramatist, wrote conventional romantic poems until the rise of Nazism brought about a drastic change in her life. Forced to flee to Sweden, she began writing about the grief and yearnings of her fellow Jews, concurrently translating German works into Swedish and vice-versa. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966.

 10 
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
(German Writer, Dramatist, Art Critic and a Spokesperson of the Enlightenment Era)
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
3
Birthdate: January 22, 1729
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kamenz, Germany
Died: February 15, 1781

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a noted German dramatist, critic, and author, remembered especially for his contribution towards liberating German theatre from the influence of its classical and French counterpart. Known for such literary masterpieces like Miss Sara Sampson; Emilia Galotti; Minna von Barnhelm; Nathan the Wise; Laocoön; Hamburg Dramaturgy, he is now considered an outstanding representative of the Enlightenment era.

 11 
Heinrich von Kleist
(One of the Leading Lights of German Literary Romanticism)
Heinrich von Kleist
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1777
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany
Died: November 21, 1811

Dissatisfied with his army career, Heinrich von Kleist had also studied law and math but quit studies later to devote himself to writing. Part of German Romanticism, he penned iconic plays such as The Schroffenstein Family and Hermann’s Battle. He eventually shot himself and his lover Henriette in a murder-suicide.

 12 
Ernst Toller
(German Author, Playwright, Left-Wing Politician and Revolutionary Known for His Expressionist Plays)
Ernst Toller
4
Birthdate: December 1, 1893
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Szamocin, Poland
Died: May 22, 1939

German playwright and author Ernst Toller is best remembered for his Expressionist plays and his Marxism. Though he served the German Army initially, he suffered a physical breakdown soon and quit, propagating peace instead. His best-known play, Man and the Masses, was written in prison.

 13 
Lion Feuchtwanger
3
Birthdate: July 7, 1884
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: December 21, 1958
 14 
Else Lasker-Schüler
(German Poet and Playwright Famous for Her Bohemian Lifestyle in Berlin and Her Poetry)
Else Lasker-Schüler
3
Birthdate: February 11, 1869
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Elberfeld, Wuppertal, Germany
Died: January 22, 1945

One of the rare female Expressionist authors, Else Lasker-Schüler is best remembered for plays such as Die Wupper. Known for her bohemian and eccentric lifestyle, she fled the Nazis and moved first to Switzerland and then to Jerusalem. Owing to her extravagant expenses, she died in poverty.

 15 
Gerhart Hauptmann
(Novelist, Dramatist)
Gerhart Hauptmann
3
Birthdate: November 15, 1862
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Szczawno-Zdrój, Poland
Died: June 6, 1946

Nobel Prize-winning German author Gerhart Hauptmann initially trained and worked as a sculptor but later deviated to poetry and drama. Known for works such as The Weavers and Before Dawn, he is considered one of the pioneers of literary naturalism. His novel Atlantis inspired a Danish silent movie.

 16 
Emanuel Schikaneder
3
Birthdate: September 1, 1751
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Straubing, Germany
Died: September 21, 1812
 17 
Hermann Broch
(Former writer, best known for two major works of modernist fiction: The Sleepwalkers (Die Schlafwandler, 1930–32) and The Death of Virgil (Der Tod des Vergil, 1945))
Hermann Broch
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 30, 1951

Born into an affluent family, Hermann Broch sold his family’s textile factory to focus on studying physics, math, and philosophy. Mostly known for his literary works such as The Sleepwalkers, he had ventured into writing only after 40. He was imprisoned by the Nazis and later fled to the U.S.

 18 
Daniel Kehlmann
(Novelist)
Daniel Kehlmann
3
Birthdate: January 13, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

Best known for his bestselling novel Tyll, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is also being made into a Netflix series, German author Daniel Kehlmann is the son of TV director Michael Kehlmann and actor Dagmar Mettler. His other notable works include Measuring the World and Fame.

 19 
Hanns Johst
3
Birthdate: July 8, 1890
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stauchitz, Germany
Died: November 23, 1978

German playwright Hanns Johst was an ardent supporter of the Nazi Party. His works were influenced by Expressionism. His play Schlageter was staged on Hitler’s 44th birthday to celebrate his victory after the Nazis rose to power. He also led the German poetry academy and writer’s union.

 20 
Frank Wedekind
(Playwright)
Frank Wedekind
3
Birthdate: July 24, 1864
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hanover
Died: March 9, 1918
 21 
Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff
(Known for His Novel ‘Aus Dem Leben Eines Taugenichts’)
Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff
3
Birthdate: March 10, 1788
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Łubowice, Poland
Died: November 26, 1857

German Romantic lyricist Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff is best remembered for his epic poem Robert und Guiscard, which highlights the French Revolution. His prose works such as Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing, revolving around themes such as love, too, gained him fame. He also worked in the civil services

 22 
Peter Weiss
(German-Born Swedish Author, Painter, and Filmmaker)
Peter Weiss
2
Birthdate: November 8, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nowawes, Brandenburg, Germany
Died: May 10, 1982

German-born novelist and playwright Peter Weiss was forced to move to England, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia, to avoid Nazi persecution, and eventually moved to Sweden and took up Swedish citizenship. Initially a painter and photographer, he later turned to filmmaking. His best-known works include the play The Investigation and the novel The Aesthetics of Resistance.

 23 
August Wilhelm Schlegel
(Linguist, Translator, Sanskrit scholar, Philosopher, Poet, Literary critic, Literary historian, Romanist, Playwright, University teacher, Writer, Indologist)
August Wilhelm Schlegel
2
Birthdate: September 8, 1767
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hanover
Died: May 12, 1845
 24 
Erich Mühsam
(Essayist)
Erich Mühsam
2
Birthdate: April 6, 1878
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 10, 1934

Erich Mühsam was a German anti-militarist anarchist essayist, poet, and playwright. He was born into an Orthodox Jewish family. He was rebellious by nature and aspired to be a writer from a young age. He eventually became involved in communist and anarchist politics. His well-known works include Die Eigenen and Im Nachthemd durchs Leben. He was murdered in 1934. 

 25 
Wolfgang Borchert
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: November 20, 1947
 26 
Gustav Freytag
(German Novelist and Playwright)
Gustav Freytag
2
Birthdate: July 13, 1816
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kluczbork, Poland
Died: April 30, 1895

Gustav Freytag was a German playwright and novelist best remembered for his 1852 comedy The Journalists which is regarded as one of the 19th century's best German comedies. It is still counted among the most successful German comedies of all time. A respected playwright, Freytag is credited with developing a dramatic structure called Freytag's pyramid which is widely used today.

 27 
August von Kotzebue
2
Birthdate: May 3, 1761
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Weimar, Germany
Died: March 23, 1819
 28 
Karl August Wittfogel
2
Birthdate: September 6, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Woltersdorf, Lüchow, Province of Hanover, Free State of Prussia, German Empire
Died: May 25, 1988
 29 
Karl Valentin
(Comedian)
Karl Valentin
2
Birthdate: June 4, 1882
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: February 9, 1948
 30 
Alois Senefelder
(Actor and playwright who invented the printing technique of lithography in the 1790s)
Alois Senefelder
2
Birthdate: November 6, 1771
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: February 26, 1834
 31 
Martin Walser
2
Birthdate: March 24, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wasserburg am Bodensee, Germany
 32 
Hans Sachs
(Poet, playwright)
Hans Sachs
2
Birthdate: November 5, 1494
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nuremberg, Germany
Died: January 19, 1576
 33 
Sibylle Berg
(Writer)
Sibylle Berg
2
Birthdate: June 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Weimar, Bezirk Erfurt, Germany

Sibylle Berg is a German-born Swiss author and playwright considered one of the most famous and influential writers and playwrights in the German-speaking world. She writes novels, essays, fiction, and plays, and her books have been translated into 30 languages. She is non-binary and a popular figure in the LGBTQAI+ community. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.  

Christian Friedrich Hebbel
2
Birthdate: March 18, 1813
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wesselburen, Germany
Died: December 13, 1863
 35 
Carl Zuckmayer
2
Birthdate: December 27, 1896
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nackenheim, Germany
Died: January 18, 1977
 36 
Hellmuth Karasek
(Journalist, Writer, Theatre critic, Literary critic, Playwright, University teacher)
Hellmuth Karasek
2
Birthdate: January 4, 1934
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brno
Died: September 29, 2015
 37 
Georg Kaiser
(Dramatist)
Georg Kaiser
2
Birthdate: November 25, 1878
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Magdeburg, Germany
Died: June 4, 1945
 38 
Andreas Gryphius
(German Poet and Playwright)
Andreas Gryphius
2
Birthdate: October 2, 1616
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Glogow, Poland
Died: July 16, 1664

Widely regarded as one of the most prominent poets of the German baroque, Andreas Gryphius was one of the first significant contributors to the development of German poetry and language. Such was his enormous success that no German dramatic writer had gained such popularity before him, nor did he have worthy successors until about mid-18th century.

 39 
Hermann Sudermann
1
Birthdate: September 30, 1857
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Matzicken, Ostenfeld, Germany
Died: November 21, 1928
 40 
Leo Birinski
(Playwright who gained his biggest popularity from 1910 – 1917)
Leo Birinski
1
Birthdate: June 8, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lysyanka, Ukraine
Died: October 23, 1951
 41 
Herbert Achternbusch
1
Birthdate: November 23, 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
August, Graf von Platen
1
Birthdate: October 24, 1796
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ansbach, Germany
Died: December 5, 1835
 43 
Karl Gutzkow
(Writer)
Karl Gutzkow
1
Birthdate: March 17, 1811
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: December 16, 1878
 44 
Christian August Vulpius
1
Birthdate: January 23, 1762
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Weimar, Germany
Died: June 25, 1827
 45 
James Krüss
(Writer)
James Krüss
1
Birthdate: May 31, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Heligoland, Germany
Died: August 2, 1997
 46 
Walter Hasenclever
1
Birthdate: July 8, 1890
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aachen, Germany
Died: June 22, 1940
 47 
Martin Mosebach
(German Novelist and Essayist)
Martin Mosebach
1
Birthdate: July 31, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

Martin Mosebach is a German writer best known as the author of the non-fiction book The 21 - A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs. Besides non-fiction, he also writes novels, stories, theater and radio plays, and film scripts. He is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Georg Büchner Prize and the Kleist Prize. 

 48 
Gerhard Polt
(Writer)
Gerhard Polt
1
Birthdate: May 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
 49 
Johann Adam Hiller
1
Birthdate: December 25, 1728
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Germany
Died: June 16, 1804
Friedrich Theodor Vischer
1
Birthdate: June 30, 1807
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ludwigsburg, Germany
Died: September 14, 1887