Friedrich Gorenstein

Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein

Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein in 1994
Born Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein
March 18, 1932
Died March 2, 2002(2002-03-02) (aged 69)
Occupation Author and screenwriter
Language Russian
Nationality Soviet
Ethnicity Jewish
Notable works "Дом с башенкой" (The House with the Tower) (1964)
Solaris (1972)

Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein (Russian: Фридрих Наумович Горенштейн), or Fridrikh Gorenshtein (19322002) was a Soviet/Russian author and screenwriter. His works primarily deal with Stalinism, anti-Semitism, and the philosophical-religious view of a peaceful coexistence between Jews and Christians.


Gorenstein's father, Naum Isaevich Gorenstein (1902—1937), was a professor of political economy. His mother, Enna Abramovna Prilutskaya, was an educator. During the Stalinist repressions, his father was arrested in 1935 and exiled to a gulag. He was shot in 1937 after trying to escape.[1] After the arrest of his father, Friederich bore the name of the mother (Felix Prilutsky). He later regained his original name. His mother was the director of a home for juvenile offenders in Berdichev, Ukraine. During the Nazi invasion of 1941, he and his mother were evacuated to Orenburg in the Urals. His mother died of tuberculosis in 1943 in Orenburg. Frederick was placed in an orphanage. After the war, he was raised by his aunts, Zloty and Rachel, in Berdichev.[2]

Following World War II, Gorenstein struggled as an unskilled worker, until Nikita Krushchev's De-Stalinization allowed him to return to Kiev.[2] He studied mining in Dnipropetrovsk in the 1950s and worked as a miner and mining engineer in the Ural Mountains and Ukraine.[3]

Gorenstein moved to Moscow in 1962 to complete his scenarist course at the State Film University. He began writing screenplays to support himself. Most of his adaptions were censored, but he managed to finish his works, including writing the script for the 1972 science fiction film Solaris, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.[2] He also wrote books, but none were published except "Дом с башенкой" (The House with the Tower) (1964).[2]

In 1977 Gorenstein released his works through foreign emigration presses to bypass censorship. That and his membership in the forbidden writers union and Almanach Metropol by Vasily Aksyonov got him in trouble with the Soviet government. He received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service and emigrated to Berlin in 1979, working there as a writer until his death in 2002.[2][4] His novel Place was nominated for the 1992 Russian Booker Prize.[5]

In 1995 he was a member of the jury at the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.[6]


Gorenstein's themes reflect the repressive political life he witnessed in Communist Russia. He expressed his belief in a united, peaceful nation with conformity and without totalitarism and anti-Semitism. His work The House with the Tower has existentialist themes in the style of Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Other works move away from existentialism and incorporate religious themes, particularly Judaism. One example is Berdychev, which recounts the life of a Jew in Russia.[2]

Selected works


External links


  1. Perova, Natasha (1993). Love and Fear. Northwestern University Press. p. 236.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Фридрих Наумович Горенштейн (1932-2002) [Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein (1932-2002)] (in Russian). Electronic Library. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  3. 1 2 Hetényi, Zsuzsa (2008). In a Maelstrom: The History of Russian-Jewish Prose (18601940). Central European University Press. p. 220. ISBN 963732691X.
  4. Amory Burchard (4 March 2003). "Geschichten vom Verlust" [Stories of Losses] (in German). Der Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  5. "Archive – 1992" (in Russian). Russian Booker Prize. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  6. "19th Moscow International Film Festival (1995)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  7. Cody, Gabrielle H. (2007). The Columbia encyclopedia of modern drama: M-Z. Columbia University Press. p. 1169. ISBN 0231144245.
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