Hans Habe Dead at 66

Funeral services will be held Thursday in Ascona, Switzerland, for Hans Habe, a leading European novelist and editor and an early foe of the Nazis who died in Locarno last Friday at the age of 66. He was the author of more than two dozen novels, several of which were among the first to be burned by the Nazis. He was also a close friend of Israel which awarded him the Herzl Prize. He visited that country a number of times and was a Governor of Haifa University.

Habe, born Jean Bekessy in Budapest, was of Jewish origins. He graduated from the Franz Joseph College in Vienna and also studied at the University of Vienna and at Heidelberg University where he had his first encounters with the evils of Nazism. A journalist by profession, he worked as the Vienna correspondent for Hungarian newspapers and from 1929-1933 served as editor of the Wiener Sonn and Montagszeitung. At the age of 21 he was editor of the Vienna newspaper Der Morgen, the youngest chief editor in Europe.

Habe came to the United States during World War II and as a private in the U.S. Army he saw combat in Africa, Italy, Luxembourg and Germany. He became a U.S. citizen after the war. His novels included “A Thousand Shall Fall,” about the defeat of the French army in 1940; “The Cross of Lorraine,” which was made into a movie; “Our Love Affair With Germany” and “The Wounded Land: Journey Through a Divided America.”

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