Walter Kempowski was born in Rostock in 1929 as the son of a shipowner. In 1948, he was sentenced to 25 years of hard labour by a Soviet military tribunal for political reasons. He was released after eight years in the Bautzen penitentiary. Kempowski studied education in Göttingen and went on to work as a teacher in the countryside. From the mid-sixties onwards, he worked systematically on “Deutsche Chronik”, which consists of nine volumes. His most recent publication was the novel “Alles umsonst”. Walter Kempowski died in Rotenburg (Wümme) in 2007.